KATHMANDU: Ethnic identity can be reflected in the new constitution if a federal model based on multiple-identity is adopted, a committee formed by the Nepali Congress to study the issue of federalism has said in its report.
The report, prepared by an 11-member panel headed by Central Working Committee member Bhim Bahadur Tamang has suggested 17 different measures to ensure that the country’s diversity is reflected at all levels of government.
The Unified CPN-Maoist and Madhes-based parties are creating confusion about the concept of federalism based on ethnic identity and levelling false allegations against Nepali Congress for cheap popularity, the report, prepared after a ‘rigorous study’ said.
The first of the 17 measures suggested by the committee is that a wide range of political representation from all castes, communities and languages be ensured at the central and at the Pradesh levels and powerful local bodies be formed to guarantee a proportional and inclusive system.
The identity of ethnic groups can be promoted by ensuring proportional representation in the civil service, the army, the police and all state organs, says the report. “Development programmes targeted at deprived local communities can also help promote identity.”
Nepali and regional languages should be the official languages of a Pradesh, suggests the panel, adding that basic and higher-level education should be available in the mother tongue. Religious diversity could be promoted by recognising, protecting and promoting cultural festivals and traditions, says the report.
The authors of the report have said that Pradeshes should be named based on the history and culture of the area concerned. Special autonomous zones to preserve the characteristics of minority groups should be arranged by taking decision at the Pradesh level.
The pre-emptive right to use, manage and protect natural resources such as forests and water resources should rest with the indigenous and local communities, says the panel.
Providing free secondary education, free basic health facilities and ensuring right to shelter, food security and employment can help promote the rights of the poor, the report adds.
The document suggests that the President and Vice-President be elected by an electoral college which has representatives from different castes and communities. “This can promote diversity-based identity at the national level.”
After discussing the report for two day, the party’s Central Working Committee has assigned the Tamang committee to suggest the number, boundaries and names of the federal units based on the report, within a month, said Dilendra Prasad Badu, spokesperson for the party.