Nepal unveils annual budget, focus on COVID-19, economy

Kathmandu, NepalWritten By: Saloni MurarkaUpdated: May 29, 2021, 10:59 PM IST

Nepal releases annual budget Photograph:(WION)

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Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had earlier assured the availability of COVID-19 vaccines to the people of the country

Nepal government on Saturday unveiled a massive spending plan focused on healthcare and infrastructure, as the country is battling the deadly second wave of coronavirus. 

Union Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel presented the budget 2021-22 from the PMO’s residence in Baluwatar through ordinance following the dissolution of the House of Representatives on May 22. 

Paudel announced the total budget of NRs 1.647 trillion for the upcoming year of which NRs 122.77 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Health and Population. 

The government allocated NRs 4 billion to purchase health kits and medical equipment necessary to fight against COVID-19 pandemic and NRs 26.55 billion allocated for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

In addition to this, government hospitals will provide free treatment to COVID-19 patients and have announced an exemption of custom fees and VAT on the import of medical supplies related to coronavirus. 

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had earlier assured the availability of COVID-19 vaccines to the people of the country. 

Paudel also announced NRs 180.04 billion for the Ministry of Education. 

As the pandemic has hit the tourism industry and is further impacting the country’s economy, the Nepal government has decided to provide free visas to tourists for one month to promote tourism. It has also planned to launch an integrated tourism promotion programme. 

For the next fiscal year, NRs 45.09 billion has been allocated to the agriculture sector. The irrigation service is to be extended to 29,400 hectares of agricultural land next year. 

The government has allocated NRs 2.77 billion for the development of industrial infrastructure, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to get NRs 163.36 billion budget.

In an effort to expand the railways, NRs 10.3 billion has been allocated for the development of railways in the country.

Light vehicles run with petrol will be replaced by electric vehicles by the year 2031 and 500 charging stations, terminal buildings and other infrastructures will be built across the country with the involvement of the private sector.

All members of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) will be provided free of cost treatment in all state-owned hospitals, along with provision of accident insurance worth NRs 700,000 for journalists. 

The Finance Minister promised to control illegal movements and crime and announced plans to build 120 border outposts of APF along the country’s international borders. 

The government has announced plans to issue national identity cards to seven million Nepalis in the next fiscal year, and all Nepalis will get national ID cards within the next two years.