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Budget 2018/19 : Rs 83.89 billion allotted for energy sectors, Rs 56.41 billion for health sectors

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KATHMANDU — Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada has presented the first full-fledged budget of around Rs 1.31 trillion, which is Rs 37 billion more than the current fiscal year’s Rs 1.27 trillion, at the joint session of Federal Parliament and National Assembly on Tuesday.

Presenting the budget at the Federal Parliament today, Finance Minister Khatiwada said that the 56.41 billion has been allocated for the health sector while Rs 83.89 billion has been allotted for energy sector and Rs 24.05 billion for drinking water.

Likewise, the government has allocated Rs 1.34 billion for education, science and technology. The government has also allocated Rs 5.203 billion for tourism sectors whereas Rs 19.35 billion for aviation sector and Rs 16.58 billion has been allocated for the preservation of forest and environment.

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Likewise, Rs 2.04 billion has been allocated for youth and sports while Rs 1.88 billion has been allocated for women, children and senior citizens.

Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said that the dearness allowance for the government staffers has been increased by Rs 2,000, however, there is no increment on salary for this time.

Minister Khatiwada said that a high level commission will formed to study and recommend the salary of the government staffers.

The government has increased the tax for the motorbikes having 150 CC and those four-wheeler with 1,000 CC and above.

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Economy

Govt decides to award Budhi Gandaki Hydel project to Chinese firm again

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KATHMANDU — The government has decided to award contract for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project, to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) once again.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday has decided to award the contract for the project to CGGCL reverting the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba government’s decision to develop the 1200MW project with internal resources.

The Cabinet meeting has directed the Energy Ministry to initiate the process to award the project to the Chinese company.

Following the government decision, the Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it, according to multiple sources at the ministry.

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As per the Cabinet decision, the ministry has been asked to hold talks with the Gezhouba, prepare a proposal, and strike a deal to execute the $2.5 billion reservoir project.

Earlier on May 15, 2017, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to construct the Budhigandaki project to CGGCL, juat nine days before he was to resign from the PM’s post.

The Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to CGGCL at a cost of Rs 260 billion as per a study carried out by a French company, Tractebel Engineering.

The agreement, however, invited controversy as the project was handed to the Chinese company without initiating a competitive bidding process.

The Budhi Gandaki hydel project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated Rs18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year.

The Gorkha and Dhading district administration offices are currently distributing compensation to owners of the land taken over by the project.

More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report.

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