The federal parliament has been fulfilling its important role in legislating laws and providing policy directives to the government in course of the constitution’s implementation. Along with the House of Representatives, the lower house, the National Assembly (NA), the upper chamber of the federal parliament, has its own significance and identity.
In an interview given to RSS reporter Prakash Silwal in the context of the fifth anniversary of the promulgation of constitution, the National Assembly Chairman Ganesh Prasad Timilsina described the constitution issued by the Constituent Assembly as the outcome of the sacrifice and long struggle of the Nepali people for their rights.
Stating that there are specific phases in the implementation of the constitution in any country, he said, “The constitution is not implemented in a certain period.
The state and local levels are in the process of making their own new laws on the basis of the federal laws that have been enacted.There is some confusion in the local level as they have not enacted all the required laws.
Because of this reason, there is some lacking in the works of the local levels. It will gradually be sorted out.”
The NA Chair said the provisions of the fundamental rights as food, shelter, clothes, education, health and employment contained in the constitution would be implemented gradually and for their full implementation, the nation’s prosperity should be matching.
“Implementation of the goals of the constitution is basically to do with the nation’s economic prosperity and formulating the relevant laws.
For example, the full implementation of free education up to the secondary level is the spirit of the constitution. Similarly, free health care service is also the guiding principle of the constitution. But the state should have the capacity to invest adequately for this.
If our governments made proper coordination and created an environment conducive in course of policy and programme formulation and fiscal transfer, then this would contribute to the implementing all the fundamental rights, ” he elucidated.
Responding a question, the NA Chair stressed that the lawmakers should concentrate on their main responsibility – making the relevant laws that help in the implementation of the constitution – rather than in handling the local development budgetary funds.
Regarding the effectiveness of the devolution of the rights of the centre to the local levels, he said that the rights of the centre have been devolved to the local levels to large extent unlike in the past.
The rights of the three tiers of the government have been clearly specified in the constitution and each government exercises their rights accordingly.
On the question of constitution amendment which some political parties were calling for, the Upper House Chair said the constitution amendment takes place on the basis of political consensus like when it was amended to include the Nepali territories encroached by India in the political and administrative map of Nepal.
He added that the role of the upper chamber of the parliament would be only limited to reminding the government and the opposition party about the constitution amendment if required but they do not have deeper influence in this matter.
Asked as to what could be done to further enhance the gravity and importance of the National Assembly and about his views regarding the nomination of some leaders who lost in the first-past-the-post elections to the Assembly, which has been criticised by some political commentators, the NA Chair said,
“Actually, the NA has special character and role. When nominating people as members of this body, it is done on the basis of the person’s overall political contribution, age, class, profession, intellect etc.
At present, the representation in the Assembly reflects this. In a person’s political career, losing one election is not everything. Losing an election also does not mean that the person is incapable. Although losing the election, those nominated have been carrying out their political works.
They have been working for the country and the people. They can take up a different role and responsibility as per the due procedures and process. This should not be taken as something unusual.”
He said the entry of senior leaders in the National Assembly will rather help increase its dignity and gravity.
The NA Chair also spoke on the need of building the basis for going towards socialism.The citizens could not be happy until the country becomes prosperous. First we have to achieve prosperity and then distribute the benefits of it in a judicious manner for achieving socialism.
The entire nation should work for the economic growth for this, even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting the health safety standards, he stressed.