Populist Budget

Populist Budget

June 11, 2019, 10:48 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL 12 No.20, Jun 07 –27 June, 2019 (Jestha 24, 2076/074-75) Online Register Number: DOI 584

With a swelling balance of payment, trade imbalance, unfavorable weather, declining remittance, Nepal's economy is not in a good shape. Given limited options with high political target, Finance Minister Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada has presented his budget for fiscal year 2019/2020. Unlike last year, finance minister Dr. Khatiwda, who maintained a tight financial control, has opened the purse for everyone. Allocating huge money for non-productive sectors, including increasing salary, Constituencies Development Fund, social security allowance (SSA) and other such populist measures, finance minister Dr. Khatiwada has virtually allocated meager budgets for development projects aimed at accelerating the economic growth. Dr. Khatiwada has allocated little budget to infrastructure and new projects. At a time when Nepal's current level of revenue is just sufficient to meet concurrent expenditure, finance minister Dr. Khatiwada is expecting to go for international and domestic borrowing for capital expenditure. Published without wider consultation with Nepal's development partners, there are wide disenchantments on recently released Nepal's Foreign Aid Policy which has placed so much of conditionality for development partners. As the budget has announced the target to grow 8 percent in coming fiscal year, there is the need of huge investment in infrastructure. Given the current situation, there is a little room for it. We have covered the budget of fiscal year 2019/20 as our cover story this week. We have also analyzed Nepal-India relations during Narendra Modi's second tenure as a prime minister. We have also interviewed ambassador of Republic of Korea Park Young-sik looking at different aspects of Nepal-Korea relations.

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