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NTB announces 2073 as ‘Ghumfir Barsa’

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KATHMANDU — Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) announced Bikram Sambat 2073 as ‘Ghumfir Barsa’ (Travel Year) on Monday, in a bid to promote domestic tourism.

The initiative is part of the government’s preparations to organise International Tourism Year 2017-18.

Civil servants must take leave of no less than one week and visit a nearby destination inside of Nepal in the New Year as a part of government’s plan to help domestic tourism.

The government is going to announce the program for civil servants during the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake on Baisakh 12 (April 24), to revive the tourism sector that has been hit hard by the massive temblors of April and May last year and border blockade.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will make a special announcement of the program, the first of its kind, on April 24 to commemorate the first anniversary of the April 25 earthquake.

A ministerial level decision had approved the proclamation of Ghumphir Barsa last Friday

The NTB has allocated a budget of Rs2 million to carry out promotional activities to make the program successful.

Likewise, the tourism promotional body has suggested to the government to allocate a separate budget for travel leave concessions for government employees in the next fiscal year.

According to the NTB, a booklet will be published describing the tour packages developed by travel and tour operators.

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New govt likely to have 18 ministers

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KATHMANDU — The new government is likely to have 15 to 18 ministries in total as Prime mInister KP Sharma Oli is preparing to give his cabinet a full shape.

As per discussion between Prime Minister Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the government may include Madhes-based parties to make the government inclusive and have two-thirds majority in the Parliament.

According to Article 76 (9) of the constitution, the number of ministers cannot exceed 25 in the federal Cabinet. With the new constitution limiting the size of Council of Ministers to 25, the new governing team could be limited to 18 members including three state ministers. A formal decision on the matter is yet to be taken.

Speaking at a program organised in Kathmandu on Tuesday, UML leader Pradeep said: “Cabinet expansion is likely to take place on Wednesday. A few Maoist ministers will be joining the Oli government.”

“Our taskforce has recommended that the government form a 15-member Cabinet. Some of the ministries will be integrated and others scrapped.”

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Ishwor Pokhrel, Pradeep Gyawali, Rabindra Adhikari, Raghubir Mahaseth, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Padma Aryal are the probable ministerial candidates from the UML.

Like3wise, Maoist chair Dahal and senior CPN-MC leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Ram Bahadur Thapa have been given the responsibility of selecting ministers from their party.

Probable ministerial candidates from the Maoist Centre include Ram Bahadur Thapa, Matrika Yadav, Pampha Bhusal, Devendra Poudel, Lekhraj Bhatta, Chakrapani Khanal, Pun, Girirajmani Pokhrel and Dev Gurung, according to the sources.

Thapa may lead the CPN-MC in the government as deputy prime minister. Yadav is being considered for appointment since he represents Madhes, Bhusal as a woman while Poudel is one of the leaders who joined the party lately. Poudel had left the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party to join the Maoist Centre just ahead of unification talks with the UML.

Leaders involved in discussions said the Maoist Centre could appoint up to eight ministers if the Cabinet size does not exceed 18.

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