How are 16 ministries operating without ministers in the Deuba-led government?
KATHMANDU: It has already been more than two months that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has been taking the responsibility of 16 ministries including the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers.
Interestingly, he has not stepped inside the ministries he held even for once. Owing to the absence of political leadership, day-to-day works at the ministries have been affected badly.
PM Deuba is compelled to take all the responsibilities due to the failure of the coalition partners to finalise the names of the ministers.
Soon after he was appointed as the Prime Minister, he appointed four ministers. Bal Krishna Khand was appointed as the Home Minister, Janardan Sharma as the Finance Minister, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki as the Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Pampha Bhusal as the Minister for Water Resources and Irrigation.
Similarly, Umesh Shrestha was appointed as the State Minister for Health and Population. The State Minister is taking all the decisions in the absence of the minister. Recently, the government has appointed Narayan Khadka as the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Apart from these ministries, other ministries are without political leadership.
The Nepali Congress President Deuba has been keeping Defence Ministry, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Health and Population, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation with himself.
Similarly, PM Deuba has also been keeping the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Ministry of Land Management Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Forest and Environment and Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation with himself.
As the responsibility of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration is on the shoulders of Prime Minister Deuba, no decisions have been made regarding the transfer and appointments of the civil servants.
A high level source at the Ministry said that serious and important works have all been halted due to the lack of a minister.
It has been learnt that secretaries have frequently been visiting the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and PM’s official residence in Baluwatar for the past two months.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has a nameplate outside the office of the Minister, where it says, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supplies Sher Bahadur Deuba – ‘outside’.
According to a source at the Ministry, though the Prime Minister is looking after the Ministry, he has not been to the Ministry even once. Secretaries are carrying out most of the work of the ministries.
Meanwhile, a senior official at the Ministry said that it did not make much difference with or without having a minister in the Ministry.
He said that it is easy to work without a minister as there will be less crowd.
Deuba has also been taking the responsibility ever since he was appointed as the Prime Minister. But, he has not gone to the ministry even once as of today.
Joint Secretary Anil Kumar Dutta, who is also the spokesperson of the ministry, however, claimed that the works have not been affected in the absence of the minister.
The erstwhile KP Sharma Oli-led government had also faced the same situation. Oli was forced to run the government with only four ministers after the Supreme Court sacked almost all the ministers.