Thursday, June 20, 2019

Committee suggests three new laws to bifurcate CAAN

A committee has proposed a regulatory act, service provider act and civil aviation act before bifurcating the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
The independent committee – formed to prepare a new draft Civil Aviation Bill that envisages splitting the CAAN into two entities – has submitted its report to the Tourism Ministry proposing three separate pieces of legislations to make them operate smoothly.
The regulatory act will govern the regulatory body and the service provider act will govern the airports and airport related services, according to the recommendation, that further reads that the civil aviation act will govern the aviation security.
The Tourism Ministry will review the draft before finalising it. After finalising the draft, it will be forwarded to the Law and Finance Ministry for their comments, before tabling it at the Cabinet. After the Cabinet approval, the bill will be registered at the Parliament. The government plans to table the bill at the Parliament soon. The Parliament could send the draft to different parliamentary committees for further deliberations before it is passed into the law.
The proposed legislation also envisages integrating the previous acts to eliminate conflicts and contradictions at the CAAN. Currently, there is no clear demarcation between CAAN’s duties and organisational structure as it has been functioning as both regulator and service provider from the same office. The current structure is also blamed for the country to be blacklisted by the European Commission that has put Nepal on the European Union (EU) air safety list on December 5, 2013. Breaking up the CAAN into two entities is a prerequisite to remove Nepal from the EU air safety list, according to the EU ambassadors.
Though the successive governments have been working on it for the last nine years, it has been delayed due to political transition. The first draft was prepared by a Spanish consultancy Ineco with Asian Development Bank (ADB) funding of $4.2 million in 2014, following the approval by the board of the CAAN in 2010. The proposed law is expected to replace two existing acts, Civil Aviation Act 1959 and Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Act 1996.
Two years after the first draft, a four-member committee – led by then Tourism Joint Secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane – was formed to prepare another draft. The panel submitted its draft to the ministry in 2017. In December 2018, a five-member panel led by deputy director general of the CAAN Narendra Thapa was formed to prepare another draft. The panel submitted the draft in early January to the ministry proposing a slew of changes to the draft prepared earlier by another government committee.
Again in March, a new five-member panel had been formed under the leadership of Tourism Joint Secretary Suresh Acharya.
The Tourism Ministry has formed the current independent committee – led by a former Law Secretary Raju Man Singh Malla – after objection were raised on earlier drafts prepared by four separate committees.

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