Nepal passes new Federal Constitution

New federal structure recognizes federal, provincial and local levels

Nepal’s Constituent Assembly on Wednesday (September 16, 2015) overwhelmingly approved a new constitution after seven years of painstaking efforts and deliberations, splitting the country into seven federal provinces. Constituent Assembly Chairman Subash Nemwang announced the charter was passed by a 507-25 vote in the 601-seat assembly after the voting. Lawmakers raised their hands in celebration after the announcement was made. Now, the bill will become Nepal’s new charter once the lawmakers sign and the CA Chairperson authenticates it.

The constitution was pushed through the assembly despite protests by ethnic minority groups. It will split Nepal into seven federal provinces, and recognizes federal, provincial and local governments as part of the state’s structure. The local level shall include rural (village) municipalities, (urban) municipalities and district assemblies. The Government of Nepal shall form a commission to determine the number and area of the village municipality, municipality and special structures.

Important functional responsibilities are assigned to the local level, including the delivery of health and education. District assemblies primarily have a coordinating role, rather than a service delivery role in their own right.

The Government of Nepal is required by the Constitution to make necessary arrangements to equitably distribute the revenue generated by it from its sources, between the federation, province and the local level entities. The Government of Nepal may provide conditional grants, complementary grants, special grants and fiscal equalization grants. The amount of the fiscal transfers to provinces and local level entities shall be determined by the National Natural Resources and Fiscal Commission.

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