Federal Governance Structure For Nepal: An Overview

Federal Governance Structure is Mandatory for Proportional Electoral System

By Prakash Bom
Please see the tables related to this article by clicking here: Table 1 and Table 2

SPA & Maoists are discussing about proportional electoral system more than focusing themselves on restructuring Nepal with federal governance structure. The proportional electoral system based on population might create further complications because this system must also consider other criteria such as human development and country’s geographical disproportional regions. If the political parties and ethnic groups seriously wish to establish ‘Federal Governance System’ then they must comprehend the principles of federalism and its structure fundamentals. It is easy to strive for it with protests and politicizing slogans but hard to conceive its structure for the nation. Nevertheless, it needs great deal of consultations, discussions and dialogues in the national and international level.

We have to acknowledge our past political discipline, government practice and their legacy within our mindsets and the soil of the nation as honestly as we can. Our legacy is centrally built setup on the controlled arbitrary system. Such system belonged to the primitive government practices like the feudal oligarchic, dictatorial and totalitarian governance systems. Democracy cannot last long under such systems. The historic evidence of it is the frequent failure of past democratic governments of Nepal when they tried to function with such primitive governance setups.

Nation can risk neither her integrity nor people’s civil liberty with all that political hodgepodges. It is time for the political leaderships, ruling elites, legal experts and members of civil societies to sit and consider the federal governance structure fundamentals that can address the national crises.

In federal governance system there are governments within governments. However, there are no autonomous regions self-governing on their own. All the governments of a federal governance system in every level must comply with the Constitution of the nation, federal bills and their amendments.

The federal government or the central government in the capital of the nation has rigorous responsibilities for the national security, national policy making, foreign relations establishment and the protection of Constitution and justice. The state or regional, district and city local governments have to manage their local affairs for administration, law enforcement, justice and development under the federal national policies, regulations and mandates.

The Madhesi revolt for the federal governance and proportional electoral system might be good for the nation if the Madhesi leaderships seriously understand what they are really rebelling for. If the consequence of it can establish the federal governance system with its structure fundamentals the achievements of the movement will be grandeur and historic.

The seriousness of the Madhesi leaderships depends on how genuinely they are willing to discuss the issues with the government and leaderships of SPA and Maoists. This needs national consensus not only for the achievements of Madhesi issues but all the national issues of diverse ethnic communities. The Madhesi issue now has become the national issue. Thus all leaderships, ruling elites, law experts, and people of Nepal must understand the Federal Governance structure fundamentals.

Table 1 The greater the number of the federal governance system’s state or regional or district or city local governments stronger the national bond among the local governments; more proficient the decentralization of state power and responsibility; and lesser the chance for a state or region to breakaway or separate as an independent nation. This is how the union of a Federal Nation can be built up from the grass-root levels of local governance to sustain the significant of electoral democracy.

Table 2
The criterion of the permanent residence of a local government has to legislated by the federal government. Citizens of Nepal must have right to change their residency from any state or region to other state or region.

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16 thoughts on “Federal Governance Structure For Nepal: An Overview”

  1. In federal governance system there are governments within governments. However, there are no autonomous regions self-governing on their own. All the governments of a federal governance system in every level must comply with the Constitution of the nation, federal bills and their amendments.

    >>>After a long time, I find this Bom guy worth reading. You rightly said so. The demand that any federal region has the right to secessions is a bullsh*t and an India-sponsored conspiracy to disintegrate Nepal. Why do they want to put the provision that lets them break away from Nepal? Do they want to be part of Bihar?

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  2. I am not being clear why the federal governance is most important for our country? Are there no any easy alternatives to solve the presents problems of our country? If the federal governance is going to establish then what are the most essential bases to restructure on federalism? How it will be easy to restructure in federal governance to our country where there are the diversity within diversity of castes, races, communal, and societies in each part of the country? Is not it sound the idea of cheap popularism to cry on the demand of federal structure where there are no any clear concepts and bases are identified yet by any socalled intellectuals? Can’t it be possible to restructure of our country without federalism but with decentralization of power, proportionate based representation, providing the fundamental needs of the each society, development activities from grass root level to the top level, restructuring the whole system, good governance etc? Should it not be the incensement of problem over the problems while there are lengethening the possibilities of CA election? What are the guarantees of not being fractions in the country if the federalism and the CA election won’t be as per the wish and the interest of the parties and the groups? Why the federal structure is the most important for our country while looking at our close country India, there are many states which is greater than our whole country on the basis of population and on the basis of geographical area?

    In our country, here has established a very bad system. Do the decisions very progressive and modern, wish to fulfill the target at any condition and never be sincere on the process. This may lead our country into the fractions and darkness. The CA election has to be held at any cost within the month of Jestha but still no any civic education programs and campaigns on the CA. More than 80 percents of the people are not well known about the CA election and its process. At this context, to raise the issue of federalism is how much genuine?

    So, i would like to say that only raising the issue of postmodernism and more ambitious will not give the country the way out. We should think and have to analysis about the threats and hopes very cleverly on those issues. There should bring out the alternatives of easy and reliable ways to meet the demands of all the groups staying in the ground reality and as per the context of our geographical area, castes, races, ethnicity, and communal groups of the people.

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  3. To understand the federal governance structure fundamentals bloggers must view the table 2 and try to penetrate the structure. I hope this documents reaches to the leaders of SPA, Maoists and Madhesi so that we can understand the true intention of the Madeshi protests.

    We cannot copy Indian federal system because it has only superficial setup like the states and cheif minister but does not have structure all the way down to the grass-root as Bom guy is suggesting.

    We have to be care full with Madhesi protest now and see what really they want. If they want a breakaway state in the name of self-governance and autonomous region then we must defend our national integrity.

    This is gonna be grave consquences if Madhesi fail to understand and respect the national integrity.

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  4. If Table 1 is going to be the proposal of SPAM, no ethnic group is going to agree. Expect more protest…

    “to save the cost if it justifies the proportional representation”…you got to be kidding me! That’s the lamest argument I have ever heard. Who the hell are the SPAM to decide for others? Oh wait they are the “decider” and have taken the honorary role of the monarch.

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  5. SPAM has not decided but pledged it to adopt in the constitutional assembly elections. How the hell you are asking wrong question?

    The prototype is just idea but according to Bom guy 3 criteria have to be considered – population, human development and geographical or physical area of the nation.

    Try to understand the table 2 first then see what it means.

    But I will challenge you that if the Madhesi leaders are trying to breakway as autonomous region then there will be real civil war between the ethnic group of people for the national integrity.

    If the intention of Madhesi is to create such unrest in Nepal then they are supporting from underground the strategy of Hindu royalists of Nepal and India. Such unrest will create a havoc in nation with bitter civil war.

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  6. Bubblehead, the missing keyword in Bom’s article is “self-determination”. SPAM has been trying to skirt the right to self-determination by all means possible. Also, autonomy does not equate to secession. You need to get that straight in your head.

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  7. Fresh report from the Tarai by Tarai dwellers:

    Nepal’s Peace Process had been gaining extra and ordinary successes. It had given a great example to the world for signing on Peace Agreement in a very short period of beginning of peace process and with the completely on the self strength of we Nepali People. People had started to take a breath of happiness and full of confidence. There started to sign brightness on the face of Nepali people. They were feeling a great proudness inside them for that they will be getting the chance of making constitution for them by them through the constituent assembly. They were hopeful towards the restructuring of the state. They were feeling satisfaction that they may also get opportunities on the decision making and policy making process of the country. They were exited for being the ruler of the country from get ridding of those poor and suppressed “raiti”. Although there are some suspects and threats on their dream, they were hopeful to be the winner over the regressive forces. ..

    More on the above link

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  8. Under the constitution all the federal government’s sub-government has natural right for self-determination. It is implied in the structure of the federalism. For example, if Madhesi state decides not to change the sells tax on the grocery the federal government will not object.

    But if the Madhesi state decides to breakaway as an independent state of its own then it will be objectionable for the Federal Government to save the integrity of the nation.

    However, an autonomous region of a nation have a right to breakaway to be an independent nation. For example, ex-Soviet states are now independent nation, ex-Baltic nations are independent nation. Because they had the status of autonomous region of Soviet Nattion and Ugosalavia – Balitic nation.

    Therefore self-determination implies to rights of legilature, execution and judiciary. Self-determination does not give rights to a state of the federal government to breakaway for its independence. But such state can run its local governance with different regulations and law that are essential to the physical, social, political and development structures.

    Here you get your head straight and save national integrity of Nepal from the possiblity of separations by amples of ethnic groups of people of Nepal.

    Question is Madhesis are Nepali or Madhesis of Bihar, India? If they are Nepali then there protest must bring peace and stability to Nepal.

    If not bitter civil war.

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  9. Afno Kura – The fundamental of Democracy is to gaurantee people their right to govern themself. But how on earth that can be possible if the democracy does not embrace the system of representatives. If 30 million Nepali become the represent the government there how can that be managed?

    Similarly how to make the representativeness workable in the government you need to adopt certain logistics or working structure. Past democratic governments in Nepal tried to manage it with the centrally controlled system of feudalism or feudal oligarchic governance system. But democracy failed time after time under that legacy of feudalism.

    Fedualism, totalitarianism, dictatorships do not go together with primary principle of democracy. Democracy protects the civil rights of people and secures the national integrity with developments and justice.

    The successful system for this up till this time in the world is the Federalism or federal system of governance. Decentralization cannot work with out the federal structure of the governane in a democracy.

    Democracy has to be maintained from the grass-root level or village level of governance – administration, law enforcement, justice and development.

    Just asking for Decentralization and proportional representation will not work because the responsibilities have to structured and institutionalized from bottom to the top.

    In Nepali legacy of governance uptill now is centrally controlled and none of the representative take the reponsibility of their assigned task. Who take the power over this the government employees and therefore there is corruption beyond control.

    If the representatives from bottom to the top take responsibilities to build the nation (I mean true sense like our moms cooking dalbath daily basis and if they would cook what we (dependant mail masters) do?) – waiste the money out of the windows.

    Our Nepali society and government lack working ethics and work ethics can only be adoptable if the structure of the government system builds the logistics.

    We Nepali are used to manage things in anyway (milaune) but the development, prospertiy and political freedom need certain structure.

    Federalism is the structures of Democracy which have been successful for development and protecting democracy and national entegrity of the most of the developed countries democraticy.

    Our neighbor India does not have complete federal system from grass-root level to the top yet it has been working for half a century with the democracy.

    Federal system of India is only in the state level. Therefore it is called partial federal system which is prone to fail to guarentee the civil liberty and human development of people marginalized group.

    However, it is trying and as it reach to the economic prosperity it will address its grass-root level of responsibility.

    If Nepal fails to adopt Federal System of governance for the new democratic Nepal it will fail as it had failed in the previous attempts with corruptions and injustice. There will be development and justice for the people in the grass-root level – meaning those who are previleged will be in power and prosperity and those who line in Rolpa and Jumla will become more poor and miserable.

    This what the elites and their childern want for Nepal to stick with status quo. This means there will be more civil war and Nepal will become same for 100 of centuries.

    Time to sacrifice our status quo.

    I hope one day we all become Nepali with democratic values and way of life and give up all our ethnic ecentricity and uniqueness, caste and tradition.

    Our tradition in many ways sticks like killing goats in the open temple – as primitive dodo tradistion.

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  10. Bubblehead,

    It is self-serving people like you who is going to create a civil war in Nepal.

    “Under the constitution all the federal government’s sub-government has natural right for self-determination. It is implied in the structure of the federalism. For example, if Madhesi state decides not to change the sells tax on the grocery the federal government will not object.”

    – So “you” determine how the Madhes state should be divided/defined and then you basically tell them…ok Madhesis now under these defined parameters and rules by “us”, you can basically do whatever you want. You call that self-determination?

    “But if the Madhesi state decides to breakaway as an independent state of its own then it will be objectionable for the Federal Government to save the integrity of the nation.”

    – Who and what comprises this Federal Government that you are talking about? Again, you are the master and Madhesis are the slaves…typical pahade bahun attitude!

    “However, an autonomous region of a nation have a right to breakaway to be an independent nation. For example, ex-Soviet states are now independent nation, ex-Baltic nations are independent nation. Because they had the status of autonomous region of Soviet Nattion and Ugosalavia – Balitic nation.”

    – So what do you think is the higher power that gives this “right” to break away or not to break away in any structure? Somehow, I get the sense that to you “government” and “people” are two mutually exclusive entities.

    “Therefore self-determination implies to rights of legilature, execution and judiciary. Self-determination does not give rights to a state of the federal government to breakaway for its independence. But such state can run its local governance with different regulations and law that are essential to the physical, social, political and development structures.”

    – What rights are you talking about, defined by who and for whom? Seems like you have affinity towards authoritarian government.

    “Here you get your head straight and save national integrity of Nepal from the possiblity of separations by amples of ethnic groups of people of Nepal.”

    – National integrity as defined by you, which benefits only a section of the society is not in interest of everyone to be saved. Maybe first you need to look at what we all understand when we say “Nepal” and to be “Nepalese”.

    “Question is Madhesis are Nepali or Madhesis of Bihar, India? If they are Nepali then there protest must bring peace and stability to Nepal.”

    – No, you idiot, the question is not whether Madhesis are Nepali. The question is whether the definition of Nepal and Nepali means Madhesis as well. Right now it does not!

    If people like you cannot learn to co-exist with people from different backgrounds respecting their right to liberty and equality then there will be civil war.

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  11. Ironic,

    How easily you got naked ! So the answer is Madhesh is very well within Nepal and most Madeshi’s are from Bihar. A barbar, Tarakari-walah, blah blah blah come and with the time they bring their sasural …… How many Madhesi’s get married with the Madehsi of Nepal?? They go to Bihar so that the population of Madeshis gets doubled. Black & white Bibi and color TV hunh, you have win win situation. Even if you would like to join India, they will kick your ar.se dude. If possible Indians would trade Bihar for anything

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  12. Federal System raised by Mr. Upenedra Yadav is all junk, it is just a step away from joining the Indian Union. Look at his speech: This is the first victory, the second and final victory is to be united with India. No matter what the Govt says and does, Mr. Yadav will not be satisfied and will continue his revolt march towards being seperated from nepal.

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  13. Are you first human being or Nepali or Pahadi or Madhesi? This question we all human Nepali will have to question themselves first.

    If we find, O’gee! we are first human being then no body came to Nepal from the sky or the ground of Nepal. All have migrated to this land from else where – some came in earlier than other.

    In democracy the origin of Madhesi or Pahadi Nepali as human being and thus human beings’ human rights are protected on the basis of civil rights.

    Above all this who ever seeking his or her ethnic supermacy or greatness in the soil of Nepal on the human globe is discriminating others human rights.

    I hope one day all people of diverse ethnicity become Nepal human being under the human civilization of the Democracy. This will what changes bring the Democracy.

    All your ego of ethnicity will be wiped out in the evolution of Democracy.

    See and watch…

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  14. Prakash,

    It is important as with anything to discuss the merits and demerits of any given system. I can think of several demerits of federal system off the top of my head as well as some possible stumbling blocks.

    Also, one thing to keep in mind given the primitive governance charges – very few european countries have a federal system and they have done fine without one.

    1) Parliament, judiciary, etc… all over the country will be very expensive to run. A lot of extra paychecks and also consider security and assistant-costs for local parliament representatives and local excecutives. This cost will be significant (though I don’t know how much) and has to be taken out of something else. There will also be significant one time costs such as building new buildings to accomodate new institutions, etc..

    2) These layers of government would be an extra layer of corruption. In Nepal smaller development projects have been more succesful than larger ones for several reasons. One of the important reasons is that maller projects go underneath the political radar (ie: not so much corruption opportunities) and thus reach the people in a more unmediated fashion. The local governments would then pick up those small projects which were too insignificant for the federal government.

    3) This issue came up in the Madhesi protests – they said that money raised in Madhes should only spent in Madhes. Federal system naturally will create this kind of tension where people don’t want their tax money to go outside their own province. This means that

    4) Inclusiveness, etc… are seen as one of the main reasons for a federal system. However, if janjatis, madhesis, etc… are not even winning the seats in proportion to their population through the constituency system, what would make them suddenly active at the local level? Despite all the cry, the 20 districts in the Terai got only a handful of extra seats (7 seats perhaps?) – they were never strong underrepresented. However, in those Terai seats, the non-Pahadi people in the Terai got only 1/3 of the seats in proportion to their population. This means that even with Madhesi majority voting, primarily Pahadis were running.

    In the Terai, Madhesis are not particularly poor compared to Pahadis. So despite Madhesis voting, and having economic resources, why do they not run as often? To some extent it is true that Pahadis have some advantage in terms of connections, etc… but in a system with constituencies, it is not hard to become known locally by doing good works even when unrelated with any party. It seems that instead of addressing important cultural issues and inviting underrepresented groups to run for elections, we want to go through with this giant beast, the federal system, hoping that through hand-waving, the local elections will bring about different results.

    I am sure there are a lot of other issues – but its worrying that no one puts the pros and cons on the table and then decides. Everyone seems to just decide in advance what they want and then from that point of view dismiss arguments that don’t fit with their initial emotional idea. This is the problem in Nepal – we are too ideological and we would rather behead ourselves than be pragmatic.

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  15. Nirnaya,

    You have pointed out most of the disadvantages of the Federal Governance System without considering its advantages for the country like Nepal which has remote geographical regions and diverse ethnic populations.

    Secondly, except United Kingdom and mainland European countries have Federal System. You are outright wrong right there. Germany has a federal system, for example.

    Most propably you can not keep sending privileged ruling elites from Kathmandu to rule people of Jumla and Bajura. Surely, end to it has to come. And most of the corruptions are done by them.

    Nepal’s most corrupt government institutions are District Administrators, District Judges, and polic officer who are not the permanent resident of the districts they govern.

    People-power is the doctine of the Democracy and elected representatives of people of the local regions are to govern their homeland as the permanent resident of the region.

    You may not be the regressive one but your unconscious mindset is the regressive – meaning you are not honestly democratically processed.

    I have also met many Nepali Cogress leaders and cadres who have said that how we can trust elected representatives of the district to govern our districts.

    I asked them, “who the hell you think to dictate Nepal?” You think Nepal is your personal property inherited from the feudal oligarchic Regime.

    If so then lets see and we will begin the movements.

    To mutate mindsets like your and many other Nepali privileged ruling elites of old regimes we need to establish Federal Democratic System.

    I am one of the Pahadi from the Bahun and chetri community but I will join the ethnic communities’ protest to eradicate the old regimes’ establishment and establish the ‘Federal Governance System for Nepal.

    This is my only wish for Nepal as my motherland. This is only way I think the corruptions committed by the privileged ruling elites can be eradicated.

    Nepal’s current system is the system of corruption that allow ruling elites from every corner rub the national revenues. I think politicians are the scape-goats of these ruling elites. But politicians are the one who can cut the throats of the blood sucking ruling elites.

    Nepal has to be ruled by the elected representatives of the people from local level to the top.

    I had 10 years ago purposed with the Sher Bahadur Deupa in his resident that why don’t you allow the elected district chairperson ‘Savapati’ form the district cabinet to rule the district. Because there is no coordination with the CDO as the appointed district administration and the chairperson. But there is rather conflict of interests in them and that causes corruptions and the development of the districts are in jeopardise.

    He answered me that in Nepali context that does not work.

    Unless you have vested interested for your father to be CDO or brother and sisters to be CDO then you will oppose the Federal Government System. But if you still do not see the prospect for Nepal with it then you do not really understand how Federal Governance structures work.

    It seems you have not even read the Anceint Greek government structures difference between Sparta and Athens.

    For you information Sparta was an oligarchic dictorship but Athens was the Federal Democratic for people to participate directly in the government.

    I have a friend in America and one day in the winter his bushes on the fense of his property was cut too much then necessary by the local township authority without his permisssion. Then he called the township office and file the complain. To his surprise the town mayor had come to his house to apologize. This is what is called the people’s democracy and that is possible with the federal governance system.

    You know now the movements for the federal governance system are on in Nepal. If Wagle agrees with my new article I have just emailed then we have more to discuss on the matter.

    Forgive me if I have typos and mistakes in this comment to your response (writing on the fly).

    Think on these matters seriously for the country putting aside our personal, familial, political and other interests.

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