Friday, November 26, 2021

Monetary Policy quarterly review gives continuity to CD ratio provision

The central bank has stressed on policy stability in the first quarterly review of the Monetary Policy 2021-22.

Releasing the review report today, the central bank has kept the cash reserve ratio (CRR), statutory liquidity ration (SLR) and widely critisised 90 per cent cap on credit to deposit (CD) ratio unchanged. The CD ratio has been blamed for current credit crunch. The bankers were asking the central bank and finance minister to revert to the earlier system of CCD ratio. The central bank, through Monetary Policy for the current fiscal year 2021-22, has scrapped the provision of credit to core capital plus deposit (CCD) ratio and mandated CD ration to be kept at 90 per cent. Most of the commercial banks have CD ratio over 90 per cent, restricting them to further lend. But the review has asked the banks to prepare a plan to contain CD ratio within 90 per cent by the end of this fiscal year, and submit it to the central bank.

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has, however, tried to tighten the imports, which has seen whopping growth since last couple of months as the Covid-19 infection has been weak. The alarmingly rising imports has eaten up the foreign exchange (Forex) reserve as it has been depleting fast since last couple of months.

In a bid to address the declining forex reserves, the central bank has adopted different measures to discourage imports like making cash margin mandatory when opening LC, limit import of silver and simplify the process of bringing in deposits from Non Resident Nepalis (NRNs), reads the review.

Likewise, the central bank has also introduced a provision whereby commercial banks can issue collateral for loans in foreign currency for commercial agriculture, manufacturing industries, tourism and projects.

Projecting the pressure on external sector stability to continue, as the demand for credit is increasing due to economic recovery process and a large portion of such credit is being spent on import payments at a time when remittance inflow is also not decreasing, the central bank has tried to stop the forex reserve depletion.

Despite a huge pressure to lift cap from margin-type lending, the central bank has not reviewed 40 million and 12 million cap. The fall in share market has been attributed to the central bank's policy to put cap of Rs 40 million (for one financial institution) and Rs 12 million (from the overall financial system) in margin type lending. The provision was also brought in the Monetary Policy for the current fiscal year 2021-22. The share investors have been asking the central bank to revert the decision. However, the central bank, in the review, said that the provision will help financial sector stability and is necessary as the margin type loan has been projected to create bubble in stock market.

Likewise, the central bank has also projected that expenditure on local elections in the current fiscal year will further expand the demand for credit and put pressure on prices. It has also projected the economy to recover wisely citing that the impact of Covid-19 has been gradually diminishing, the availability of vaccines has increased, the number of people going for foreign employment has started increasing, foreign tourist arrivals have increased and that the export of electricity has started.

UML’s 10th national convention kicks off in Chitwan

After 7 years and 3 months from its 9th national convention, the main opposition party CPN (UML)'s started its 10th national convention in Chitwan today, though the law directs the political parties to regularly hold their national convention every five years.

The 3-day convention will conclude on Sunday by electing new leadership for the next five years.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba alongwith key leaders of various political parties were present at the inaugural session of the convention chaired by the party chair KP Sharma Oli.

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal did not attend the meeting, and sent his aide Lilamani Pokharel to attend the convention of UML, which has not invited CPN (Unified Socialist) chair Madhav Kumar Nepal, who formed his own party after splitting from the UML following a long-standing dispute with the party chair Oli.

The convention is also being attended by some 15 foreign delegates from 16 political parties of various countries including India.

Party chair Oli inaugurated the 10th congress, where Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba also attended.

Though, Nepal's political parties have been blamed for their heavy expenses without any source of income, the CPN (UML) has claimed that it has collected Rs 100 leby from its 850,000 members. "Rs 100 donation from each of our 850,000 members has totalled to Rs 85 million," the party claimed, adding that the expenses will be met from the collection.

The Election Commission, has however, yesterday asked all the political parties to make their expenses transparency. "The EC has developed a format for all the political parties to keep their expenses transparent according to Political Parties Act-2073, article 40," the constitutional body said in its notice yesterday. "The EC has approved some 8 forms for the political parties to keep their accounts transparent," the notice reads, adding that all the political parties must keep accounts according to the prescribed format also for the uniformity. "It will help maintain transparency in all the political parties."

The political parties have been questioned for their heavy expenses, as they have no definite income sources.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

After 50 years, Nepal to graduate from LDC

After being in a category of least developed country (LDC) for five decades since 1971, Nepal is finally graduating to the developing country category as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday approved a proposal of Nepal's graduation to a middle-income developing country by 2026.

The 40th plenary of the 76th Session of the UNGA unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the graduation of Nepal from the LDC category with the preparatory period of five years, according to press note issued by the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations in New York.

"As a result, Nepal will graduate from the LDC category by December 2026 and until then will continue to receive all concessions and support measures as LDC,” the press note reads.

In addition to Nepal, the graduation of Bangladesh and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has also been endorsed by the UNGA.

Nepal now needs to prepare smooth national transition strategy, with the support of the UN system and in cooperation with their bilateral, regional, and multilateral development and trading partners. After the graduation from LDC category, a country will not get grant, and also loses preferences it is getting as LDC, thus pressuring for strong domestic production base.

After the adoption of the resolution, permanent representative of Nepal to the UN Amrit Bahadur Rai reiterated Nepal’s commitment to making all-out efforts for a smooth graduation with the enhanced level of support from the development partners, including the UN system. "Nepal graduating from LDC status in 2026 is a great milestone, indeed," he added.

But Nepal should make efforts that it won't slip backwards. Rai also pledged for Nepal to do its best to undertake all required procedures for its structural changes for the same within the next five years. "The Government of Nepal has completed strategic efforts for the graduation," he said, adding that it is an opportunity for the country to raise its image in the international forum by creating structures for its economy within the next five years. "We have also urged for addressing challenges that may emerge after 2026, and will reach a conclusion to this effect after holding a dialogue with development partners."

Nepal has twice deffered its graduation due to devastating earthquake in 2015 and lack of preparation in 2018. Usually, graduation from LDC status becomes effective three years after the UNGA takes note of the recommendation made by the Committee for Development Policy under the United Nations Economic and Social Council to graduate a country. But due to Covid-19 pandemic, this time, the countries have been given five years of preparatory period on an exceptional basis.

The five-year preparatory period, however, is provided for a smooth transition, recognising the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting need to implement policies and strategies to reverse the pandemic’s damage to the economic and social sectors, the press note reads.

The resolution has mandated the Committee on Development Policy, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council, to analyse the adequacy of the preparatory period at its 2024 triennial review and recommend further extension, if necessary, the press note adds.

In the last two triennial reviews conducted in 2015 and 2018, Nepal had met two of the three criterion related to the human asset index (HAI) and economic vulnerability index (EVI), though it couldn’t meet the per capita income (PCI) criteria. A country must have HAI more that 66 to graduate from LDC. But Nepal has scored 68.7 in 2015, 71.2 in 2018, and 75 in 2021. Likewise, a country must have EVI less than 32 to graduate. Nepal has scored 26.8 in 2015, 28.4 in 2018, and 24.2 in 2021.

A country becomes eligible to graduate from LDC after meeting two of the three criterion but a country can also graduate on the basis of per capita income alone, if it can meet the PCI creteria. The gross national per capita income of a country needs to be at least $1,222 for it to be accorded developing country status, according to the UN. But Nepal’s per capita income stands at $1,027 in 2021, whereas it had $745 in 2018, and $659 in 2015, according to National Planning Commission (NPC) data presented at the UNGA.

Australian ambassador hands over medical equipment to Bir Hospital

Australia’s ambassador to Nepal Felicity Volk provided medical equipment worth Rs 4.2 million to the Covid-19 Unified Central Hospital at Bir Hospital under the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS).

The equipment, including Intensive Care Unit beds and other equipment, will be used to establish an emergency ward in the Covid-19 Unified Central Hospital, according to a press note issued by the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu. "As the Covid-19 vaccination campaign continues in Nepal, the Australian government is committed to supporting health security under our Covid-19 Development Response Plan," Volk has been quoted in the press note. "The plan focuses on providing assistance to the most vulnerable. With Nepal responding to multiple challenges simultaneously, the needs of marginalised communities are more evident than ever."

"Australia’s contribution of equipment through the Lutheran World Federation Nepal will strengthen Nepal’s health system and serves as a reminder of a close friendship over six decades, throughout which Nepal and Australia have supported each other," she added.

In May, the Australian government provided Aus$7 million to NGOs including the Lutheran World Federation Nepal (LWF Nepal) to boost Nepal’s ability to address Covid-19, including through the procurement of essential equipment and health supplies for hospitals and personal protective equipment for health workers.

Vice Chancellor of NAMS Prof Dr Dev Narayan Shah, acting chief executive officer of Covid-19 Unified Central Hospital, Prof Dr Bhupendra Kumar Basnet, and LWF Nepal country director Dr Bijaya Bajracharya were present on the occasion.

‘Kahile Kahi Hoina, Kahile Pani Hundaina’ campaign against gender-based violence and child marriage starts

The Zonta Club of Kathmandu today launched a campaign to raise awareness on the importance of speaking up against domestic violence, work and public place harassment, and child marriage. The initiative coincides with the United Nations (UN)  16-Day of Activism against Gender-Based Violence from November 25 to December 10.

Women continue to make up the bulk of victims of abuse but often do not report it due to stigma and fear of not being believed and supported, according to Zonta that has produced four short films deliver the vital campaign message –Kahile kahi hoina, Kahile pani hundaina (it’s never ever okay).

"Very often we hear people justify violence by saying it happens sometimes, so let it be. These short films deliver the vital message that violence/harassment and child marriages are never okay - not one time, NOT EVER and one must speak up," president of Zonta Club of Kathmandu Seema Golchha said, adding that the video will encourage victims to seek help and let them know of the helpline options where they can safely call and speak up.

As part of the initiative, Zonta will also stage a series of street plays in public places in Kathmandu starting December 1. "We will continue to promote the campaign message of speak up against gender-based violence and child marriage through street plays as it is a very effective medium in spreading social messages," a member of Zonta Kathmandu advocate Ratna Karki said.

Zonta Kathmandu has been working with different partners to support girls and women victims of violence and has also tied up with Lalitpur Metropolitan Police 100 helpline. Zonta and the National Commission for Women have also created a 1145 helpline to provide legal counselling and support to the victims of domestic violence and workplace sexual harassment.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

PATA Nepal organises 'Nepal- Bangladesh Tourism Promotion and B2B Exchange' programme

PATA Nepal Chapter, in collaboration with the PATA Bangladesh Chapter, has successfully concluded the 'Nepal-Bangladesh Tourism Promotion & B2B Exchange' Programme from November 16 to November 21.

The joint collaboration between PATA Chapters of Nepal and Bangladesh was organised as the post-pandemic tourism recovery initiative to help in promoting each other's destinations through mutual tie-ups and collaboration for both inbound and outbound tourism between the two neighbouring nations.

PATA Nepal Chapter, with the support of its member and partner organisations, hosted the PATA Bangladesh Delegation of 17 members; including the deputy director and secretary of Bangladesh Tourism Board, chairman and secretary-general of PATA Bangladesh, 10 tour operators, 2 media and 2 students from PATA Bangladesh Dhaka University Student Chapter.

The exchange programme included the familiarisation visit to Pokhara for Bangladeshi delegates from November 17 to November 19, wherein a 'Tourism Networking and Interaction Session' was organised in collaboration with Pokhara Tourism Council and NTB Pokhara on November 18. The Tourism Networking Programme in Pokhara witnessed the enthusiastic participation of 70 plus tour operators and service providers from the tourism fraternity, according to the PATA Nepal Chapter.

The formal function and B2B session held on November 20 at Park Village Resort included the presentations on destinations insights and business meetings and networking between 12 Bangladeshi tour operators and 14 Nepali tour operators and tourism service providers.

The formal function kicked off with the welcome remarks from PATA Nepal chairman Bibhuti Chand Thakur, who emphasised the immediate focus must embrace the promotion of 'regional travel', as an action plan, for reviving tourism which would be the most appropriate and convenient for travellers and destination management organizations or service providers.

"Since the long haul travel might take a little longer to recover," he said, adding that the nearby destinations, preferably accessible by road or short-haul flights, have more opportunities to build back their tourism. "Nepal-Bangladesh being so close to each other with less than one-hour flight, we through this collaboration expect unveiling a new way forward to strengthening our mutual inbound and outbound tourism business potentials."

Chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Dr Dhananjay Regmi and  deputy director and secretary of Bangladesh Tourism Board Mohammad Saiful Hasan, on the occasion, shared their destination insights and thoughts on the prospects of tourism exchange between Nepal and Bangladesh. The head of Department (Brand and Service Improvement) at Himalaya Airlines Ujjwala Dali also presented the operational plans of Himalaya Airlines to Bangladesh as well as other sectors in the region and beyond.

Addressing the formal function,  chairman of PATA Bangladesh Shahi Hamid said that he got fascinated with the warm hospitality of Nepal, and there are many alluring tourism products and services in Nepal to attract many Bangladeshi travellers. He also said that Nepal used to welcome about 26,000 Bangladeshis yearly before the pandemic and this can be easily penetrated double with effective promotion and marketing initiatives.

The chief guest of the programme, secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Yadav Koirala, on the occasion, expressed his thanks to PATA Chapters of Nepal and Bangladesh for undertaking the needful and timely initiative to promote regional tourism. He also recommended that Nepal needs to enhance its collaborative marketing and promotional events, organise FAM Trips, improve infrastructures (especially road connectivity), and develop extended tour packages for the tourists to Bangladesh and Nepal to flourish tourism in both countries. He further assured that the Tourism Ministry will facilitate the necessary cooperation and support at the government level to increase the tourism engagements between Nepal and Bangladesh.

The event was promoted by Nepal Tourism Board and Bangladesh Tourism Board; and supported by  Himalaya Airlines and Buddha Air (Airlines Partners), Pokhara Tourism Council (Organising partner), The Royal Mountain Travel (Transportation partner),  and Hospitality Partners including- The Everest Hotel, KGH Group of Hotels, Aloft, Radisson, Siddhartha Hotel, and The Old Inn.

Bangladesh Tourism Board, along with PATA Bangladesh Chapter, has extended an invitation and will be hosting Nepali counterparts in Bangladesh soon to further explore exchange and expand the mutual prospects of tourism development between both countries.

Friday, November 12, 2021

International rights groups call for protection of judicial independence and integrity

 The independence and integrity of the judiciary in Nepal is being jeopardised by the crisis at its Supreme Court, according to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI).

"To uphold human rights and the rule of law, it is essential to resolve the crisis in a way that maintains and enhances the court’s credibility and independence," a press note jointly issued by the three international rights bodies issued today reads.

In an unprecedented move, 18 out of 19 justices have refused to sit on Supreme Court benches unless Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana steps down.

Boycotting a full court meeting called by Chief Justice Rana on October 25, 2021, the justices demanded Rana's resignation for allegedly undermining the integrity and independence of the judiciary. The justices pointed specifically to allegations of a relationship between Rana and the executive branch. They also cited allegations concerning the allocation of cases for hearing to specific justices, and the failure to list for hearing a number of writs against constitutional appointments that he had participated in making.

“The Supreme Court has a crucial role in upholding human rights and the rule of law in Nepal, which makes this crisis extremely worrisome for the justice process,” South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly said.

Following the boycott by the Supreme Court justices, the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) also called for the chief justice’s resignation. The NBA said it would call a nationwide protest, if the chief justice does not resign. On November 11, some members of the NBA were reportedly injured when police prevented them from staging a protest within the Supreme Court premises. In response to this incident, the NBA on November 12 (today) staged a sit-in at the gate of the Supreme Court.

The current crisis comes amid increasing calls for judicial reform. In July, a committee established by the Supreme Court and led by Justice Hari Krishna Karki submitted a report identifying a number of problems in the judiciary However, the Supreme Court is yet to make the full version of the report public, or to present a plan to carry out its recommendations.

"Without judicial integrity and independence, the role of the Supreme Court will be weakened significantly, making it unable to uphold its constitutional obligation to protect human rights and the rule of law,” said ICJ senior international legal adviser Mandira Sharma. "The allegations against the Chief Justice must be investigated and address through fair process consistent with the rule of law."

Under Article 101 of the constitution, if one quarter of the House of Representatives files a motion for impeachment, an 11-member impeachment recommendation committee of House members will investigate whether grounds exist for moving forward with the impeachment.

"An independent judiciary is the foundation of a rule of law-based system and respect for human rights,” said director of Amnesty International Nepal Nirajan Thapaliya. "As envisioned by the constitution, the parliament should ensure a robust, transparent, and effective investigation on the allegations faced by the chief justice to protect the integrity of the Supreme Court and to ensure public trust in the judiciary."

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

हजारको नोट छाप्न बन्द गरौं, अर्थतन्त्र सफा गरौं

भनिन्छ, हरेक समस्या तथा चुनौतीमा विज्ञ तथा व्यावसायिक मानिसले समाधान देख्छ, तर राजनीतिज्ञले हरेक समाधानमा समस्या देख्छ । नेपालमा यो भनाइ हुबहु मिल्छ, किनकि हरेक विषयलाई नेपालमा राजनीतीकरण गरिन्छ । नागरिकका दैनिन्दिनी समस्यामा पनि राजनीति हुने भएकाले मुलुकले राजनीतिक प्रणाली फेरिसके पनि आर्थिक क्रान्तिको जग बसाउन सकेन । यसबीच प्रचण्ड बहुमतको स्थिर सरकारले पनि अर्थतन्त्रलाई सुधार गर्नुको साटो झन् बढी बिचौलियाकरण गरेर छोड्यो । वर्तमान सरकारले अर्थतन्त्रको समस्या बुझ्ने मेसो नपाउँदै मुलुक विकराल समस्यातर्फ उन्मुख देखिन्छ । त्यसैले सरकारले आफ्नो दृढ इच्छाशक्तिको प्रदर्शन नगर्ने र यथास्थितिमा नै चल्ने हो भने अर्थतन्त्रको बिचौलियाकरण बढ्नेमात्र देखिन्छ । यसका समाधान खोज्न आवश्यक भइसकेको छ । सरकारी तथ्यांक तथा बजारको तालमेल छैन । सरकारी बेवास्ताका कारण उपभोक्ता बजारमा हरेक दिन लाखौं रुपैयाँ ठगिन्छन् । किनकि महँगी बढ्नुमा लाचार उपभोक्ताहरू जिम्मेवार छन् नै, तर प्रमुख जिम्मेवार भने बिचौलिया हुन् र उनीहरूको पहुँच सरकारसम्म छ । मूल्यवृद्धि नियन्त्रण नहुँदा मुलुक असफल राष्ट्रतर्फ उन्मुख हुन्छ । तसर्थ, सरकारले उपभोक्ताको हित गर्ने तथा अर्थतन्त्रको सुधार गर्ने, कालोधनलाई नियन्त्रण गर्ने, भ्रष्टाचार अनि कालोबजारी नियन्त्रण गर्न पनि डिजिटल अर्थतन्त्र कार्यान्वयनमा ढिलाइ गर्नु हुँदैन ।

हजारजस्ता ठूला दरका नोट छाप्न बन्द गरेर ठूला कारोबार बैंकिङ च्यानलमार्फत मात्र गर्ने तथा साना कारोबारमा मात्र नोटको प्रचलनमा ल्याउन प्रोत्साहन गर्ने हो भने एकातिर उपभोक्ता हित संरक्षण हुन्छ भने अर्कातिर यसले डिजिटल अर्थतन्त्रमा फड्को मार्न मद्दत गर्छ । कोरोना महामारीले विश्वभर पढाएको पाठ नेपालले सिक्दै डिजिटल अर्थतन्त्रलाई कार्यान्वयनमा ल्याउन ढिलाइ गर्नु हुँदैन । यो अवसरको सदुपयोग गरौं । यसबाट मुलुकको दीर्घरोग भइसकेको भ्रष्टाचार तथा कालोबजारी एवं कालोधनको ओसारपसार एवं अनौपचारिक अर्थतन्त्रलाई पनि औपचारिक अर्थतन्त्रभित्र ल्याउन सहज हुन्छ ।

पछिल्ला चार वर्षमा नेपाली अर्थतन्त्र झन् बढी अनौपचारिक तथा छाया अर्थतन्त्रमा रूपान्तरण हुँदै गइरहेको छ । सरकारले नै नीतिगत रूपमा अर्थतन्त्रलाई अनौपचारिक तथा छाया अर्थतन्त्रमा रूपान्तरण गर्ने भूमिका खेलेको छ । त्यसैले अब सरकारले आफ्नो नीतिगत गल्तीलाई सुधार गरी अर्थतन्त्र सफा गर्ने अवसर आएको छ । यो मौका किन पनि महŒवपूर्ण छ भने कालोधनविरुद्धको नेपालको आफ्नो प्रतिबद्धताको अब आउने केही महिनामा नै परीक्षण हुँदै छ । त्यसमा नेपालले आफ्ना कानुनी तथा नीतिगत सुधारका फेहरिस्त प्रस्तुत गर्नुपर्नेछ । क्षेत्रीय सञ्जाल एसिया प्रशान्त समूह (एपीजी) मार्फत नेपाल पनि एफएटीएफको सदस्य रहेकाले सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरणका विषयमा उसले नेपालको मूल्यांकन सार्वजनिक गर्नेछ । त्यसमा नेपालको कानुनी, प्राविधिक र संस्थागत संरचनाका विषयहरूमा मूल्यांकन हुनेछ, जसमा नेपाल अझै खैरो सूचीमा पर्ने सम्भावना रहेको छ । यसअघि पनि नेपाल निगरानीमा परिसकेको हुनाले नेपालले कालोधनविरुद्धको आफ्नो प्रतिबद्धता यसपटक व्यवहारमा पनि देखाउन आवश्यक छ । तसर्थ ठूला नोट छाप्न बन्द गर्ने, ठूला कारोबारलाई बैंकिङ प्रणालीमार्फत मात्र प्रोत्साहित गर्ने जस्ता कार्यले नेपालको कालोधनविरुद्धको अभियानमा विश्वले विश्वास गर्ने वातावरण बन्छ । घरजग्गालगायत विविध कारोबारमा न्यून मूल्य देखाएर गरिने करछलीलगायतका सरकारलाई राजस्वमा भइरहेको नोक्सानलाई पनि यसले सम्बोधन गर्न सक्छ । अझ महत्वपूर्ण विषय त नेपाल डिजिटल अर्थतन्त्रको युगमा प्रवेश गर्नेछ । साथै, एक तथा दुई रुपैयाँका साना नोट प्रशस्त छाप्दा बजारमा भइरहेको खुद्रा मूल्यवृद्धिलाई पनि नियन्त्रण गर्न सकिन्छ । हाल बजारमा अनुभव भइरहेको मूल्यवृद्धि र नेपाल राष्ट्र बैंकको तथ्यांकमा आउने मूल्यवृद्धिको फरक पनि घटाउन मद्दत गर्नेछ । तसर्थ, हजारको नोट छाप्न बन्द गरौं र एक, दुई, पाँच, दस, बीस, पचास, सय र पाँच सयको नोट मात्रै छापौं ।

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Bhat-Bhateni operates fully automated vertical parking system

 Bhat-Bhateni Supermarket (BBSM) has started its fully automated vertical parking system at its Tangal outlet from today.

According to the super store, the parking system contains 11 storey, which can accommodate up to 44 four-wheelers at a time. The first in its kind of system in the country has machines that lift to-be-parked vehicles and settle them systematically at proper space inside the infrastructure automatically, according to a press note issued by the BBSM.

The chain super store that has been expanding its outlets across the country invested around Rs 70 million to construct the infrastructure.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Malla receives UN Woman Police Officer of the Year award

 The United Nations Department of Peace Operations announced that Superintendent Sangya Malla of Nepal, currently serving in the United Nations (UN) Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), will be awarded the 2021 United Nations Woman Police Officer of the Year. Superintendent Malla will be presented the award by UN secretary-general António Guterres at a virtual ceremony on 9 November.

Superintendent Malla currently serves as the chief of the MONUSCO Police Health and Environment Unit, which she helped establish in the country’s capital, Kinshasa. The unit is responsible for implementing policies and procedures concerning the health and well-being of personnel as well as UN Police environmental initiatives, according to a press note issued by the UN. "Her contributions have added direct significance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and past outbreaks of Ebola virus disease, as well as natural and humanitarian crises such as the volcanic eruption in Goma last May, during which her unit alerted the local population and UN staff of precautionary measures."

"She helped establish and now leads MONUSCO’s Health and Environment Unit, enhancing the safety and welfare of our peacekeepers by mitigating the risks from Covid-19 and other threats,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. "And she represents something far larger — the many contributions of women police officers in advancing peace and security around the world," he said, adding that through her work, Superintendent Malla embodies the best of the United Nations.

A medical professional by training, Superintendent Malla helped develop guidance for preventing and mitigating the spread of Covid-19. She has organised over 300 awareness sessions this year on Covid-19 prevention as well as environmental protection for the local population, Congolese authorities and UN staff. As the MONUSCO Police’s focal point on Covid-19, she also been disseminating information about the vaccines and promoting vaccination efforts.

“I am honoured to receive this award, and I hope it will encourage more young women in my country and around the world to pursue careers in policing, which is still too often viewed as “man’s work’,” said Superintendent Malla.

The United Nations Woman Police Officer of the Year award was established in 2011 to recognise the exceptional contributions of women police officers to UN peace operations and to promote the empowerment of women.

“Like many peacekeepers during this challenging time amid the pandemic, Superintendent Malla has gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve local communities,” said UN Police Adviser Luis Carrilho. “Together with her team, her efforts to raise awareness about public health and natural risks have ultimately made her colleagues and the Congolese people safer—a core function of policing.”

Superintendent Malla’s previously served with the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) from 2016 to 2017, where she was a member of the Formed Police Unit’s medical team. She joined the Nepal Police in 2008 as an inspector.

The award will be presented during the 16th United Nations Police Week which falls on November 8-12. At this annual event, heads of UN Police components and police experts from peacekeeping operations, special political missions and regional offices and UN senior leadership discuss performance, conduct and discipline, protection of civilians, conflict prevention, sustaining peace and other topics and priorities affecting UN policing.

About 7,300 UN police, almost 27 per cent of whom are women, are currently deployed in 14 UN  peace operations around the world, where they work to enhance international peace and security by supporting host countries in conflict, post-conflict and other crisis situations.

As of today, UNPOL has already achieved the 2025 targets set out in the Department’s Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy for all categories of personnel. Women police officers comprise 30 per cent of individual police officers and 15 per cent of members of Formed Police Units. Women police hold 40 per cent of professional posts at UN Headquarters and 33 per cent in the field.

Women also lead half of UN Police components in UN peace operations.

DRI files cases against 17 firms accused of revenue leakage

 The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) today filed cases at the Patan High Court against the proprietors of 17 firms accused of being involved in revenue leakage seeking to recover Rs 2.36 billion from them.

According to a press note issued by the department, it has filed cases against traders associated with Shangrila Trade and Suppliers, Mahalaxmi Trade Concern, Chandan Suppliers, Hanuman Suppliers, Delight Enterprises and GM Import and Export. "Ansar Manjeel Traders, PR Nirman Sewa, New Dip International, DN International, Himalayan Nepal Suppliers, RP Traders and Infratech are also under scrutiny of the department," it reads, adding that the department also filed cases against Nitesh Impex, Morgan Trade Link, Rise Auto Trade and trader Shakir Ali. "Of the accused, the department has sought to recover the largest amount of Rs 1.07 billion from trader Flot Raut Ahir of Shangrila Trade and Suppliers.

Finance Minister vows to resume construction of Chandragiri-Chitlang section of Ganeshman Singh Highway soon

 Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has vowed to resume the construction of Chandragiri-Chitlang section of Ganeshman Singh Highway soon.

Addressing a festival celebration reception here in Kathmandu today, Sharma said that he had heard that stone supplies were taking place from the section, and if true, such act will be instantly suspended and road construction would be resumed. "I have heard that the ‘stone quarry business’ is taking place along the Chandragiri-Chitlang section of Ganeshman Singh Highway, which I will stopped immediately," he said, promising to do his best for the development of Chandragiri as well. "The construction of a bus park and a community hospital is also in plan," he said, admmitting to materialise the dream of Sankhadhar Sakhwa, who had freed the people from the debt and commenced the era of Nepal Sambat.

The campaign that Sakhwa had started 1142 years ago is yet to be completed, the minister claimed, adding that people are yet to be liberated from the vicious cycle of poverty and to support them to be self-sufficient, according to the Finance Minister.

The then Krishna Prasad Bhattarai-led government had announced Sankhadhar Sakhwa as the national hero and the Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’-led government had recognised the Nepal Sambat as the national calendar.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Japan to confer highest medal to Himalaya SJB Rana

 The Government of Japan has announced the foreign recipients of the 2021 Autumn Imperial Decorations naming Himalaya Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana as one of the recipients.

"Founding governor of the central bank of Nepal and former finance secretary Himalaya Shumsher Jung Bahadur (SJB) Rana was awarded the Order of Japan (The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star) among foreign nationals among this year’s 2021 Imperial Decorations conferred by the Government of Japan, according to a press note issued by the Embassy Of Japan in Kathmandu.

Rana was recognised for his efforts to initiate economic ties between Japan and Nepal after he had visited Japan and witnessed Japan’s rapid economic recovery form World War II devastation, the press note reads, adding that he had also successfully persuaded the board of central bank to open the bank account at the Bank of Japan (BoJ) in 1960s, believing that could lead to the activation of economic relations between the two countries. "The Nepal Rastra Bank was the first foreign central bank that had opened an account at the BoJ."

Rana’s great grandfather Dev Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, the Prime Minister of Nepal in 1901 had decided to send the first Nepali students to study in Japan. People to people contacts between Japan and Nepal began with the visit of Japanese monk Kawaguchi Ekai to Nepal in 1899 and with the travel of eight Nepali students to Japan in 1902.

Rana tried to make this fact known to Nepali people at every opportunity, including at the symposium on the centennial celebrations of Nepali students in Japan in 2002, and he had delivered a lecture on the same theme at the annual meeting of the Japan University Alumni Association of Nepal (JUAAN), the press note further reads.

The Embassy, in the press notes, also congratulated Rana on being conferred with the Order of Japan. Next year will be the Japan Southwest Asia Exchange year and marks 120 years after the first batch of eight Nepali students had travelled to Japan in 1902. Japanese decorations are conferred upon foreigners twice a year, on 29th April and 3rd November, concurrently with the conferment of decorations and medals on Japanese nationals. The Order of the Rising Sun is bestowed upon individuals of merit, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the nation or public.

The award is also conferred upon foreign nationals, who have made notable contributions to the promotion of relations between Japan, and other countries for excellence in politics and diplomacy, research and education, medicine and social welfare, economy and industry, and culture and sports, the embassy press note adds.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

New Rs 100 and Rs 500 denominations bank notes to have security threads

 At the time, when the central bank has to prioritise reprinting Re1 and Rs 2 denomination bank notes to check the spiraling retail price inflation, it is planning to introduce new bank notes of Rs 100 and Rs 500 denominations.

"The new notes of Rs 100 and Rs 500 denominations will be identified by even the visually-impaired people by touching," the central bank confirmed. "Earlier the central bank had introduced Rs 1,000 denomination bank notes."

The new notes of Rs 100 and Rs 500 will have a highly-secure security thread that could be verified by machines, the central bank said, adding that the new bank note with security thread is also expected to reduce the distribution of fake banknotes in the market.

According to the Currency Management Department under the central bank, the central bank has already printed Rs 100 denomination bank notes worth Rs 400 million this year, while banknotes of Rs 500 denomination, worth Rs 190 million, will be printed out by November 17.

The central bank has also signed an agreement to print more bank notes of Rs 1,000 denomination, with security thread, for seven years under the same rate in case more notes need to be printed out, though it is high time the government should stop printing Rs 1000 denomination bank notes, also to check corruption, flow of black money and rise in retail inflation in the market that is not reflected in the central bank's data at present.

It will also encourage the people to shift to the digital banking for larger transaction,

The central bank is going to implement every safety measure when it comes to keeping the Nepali bank notes safe and secure with added safety measures.