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Home Ministry fails to cut down on public holidays

KATHMANDU, FEB 10 -

In another failure to institute a two-day weekend and cut down on festive holidays, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has unveiled public holidays for the upcoming year 2070 BS.

Earlier, the government’s plan to allot a two-day weekend for energy efficiency was discussed at several layers of the political and bureaucratic leadership but it failed in the face of strong opposition from the bureaucracy and the political fraternity. Likewise, a MoHA report had advised cutting down on festive holidays but the plan never materialised as the government feared protests from ethnic communities.

“It is impossible to reduce festive holidays at this transitional time as many communities are demanding that their grievances be addressed. So we decided to continue with the years-old practice of festive holidays as well the one-day weekend,” said a senior MoHA official. The ministry has set 1-2pm every working day as the lunch hour and advised civil servants not to affect the delivery of services.

The 2070 BS has 52 weekends, 19 festive holidays that incorporate demands put forth by several communities, 10 days of Dashain and Tihar celebrations, three no-work days for women, one for students, four in the Kathmandu Valley, eight marking various other days, three holidays for Hindus and Buddhists and 18 for Nepali missions abroad on the host countries’ national days. The Nepali missions abroad can adjust and manage a maximum of 18 days as public holidays as per the local rule.

After 2006, Nepal has seen an ever-increasing number of holidays to meet demands from various religious and ethnic communities, creating difficulties for both the government and service seekers. A MoHA team formed to readjust holidays categorically failed to do its job this year too.

“The panel was instructed to bring down government holidays to 10 and make festive holidays optional. Holidays for various religious and ethnic occasions were asked to be made optional, so as not to affect service seekers, but the idea failed,” said a secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office.

As notified, public offices in Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Siraha and Saptari districts will mark a holiday for Siruwa Pawani. The festival of Dhava Thampu, which the ministry itself knows little about, has also been marked a public holiday. Women will receive three days off for Teej, Rishi Panchami and Tejeya (in particular regions) while educational institutions will get an additional holiday on Basanta Panchami or Saraswati Puja. Residents of Kathmandu Valley have been given four extra holidays for Indra Jatra, Machhindranath Jatra, Ghode Jatra and Gai Jatra.

For the Dashain festival, counting Ghatasthapana and Kojagrat Purnima, eight days have been declared public holidays while for Tihar, another big Hindu festival, three days have been allocated as usual. Loktantra Diwas has also been declared a public holiday. Other holidays are for May Day, Republic Day, Civil Servants’ Day (for government employees), International Disabled Day (for the disabled), Martyrs’ Day, Democracy Day, Buddha Jayanti, Sri Krishna Janmasthami and Ram Nawami.

 

Posted on: 2013-02-11 08:46


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