The federal budget has come under uncertainty with the government not calling the House session.
The Constitution requires the budget to be presented to the joint session of the House of Representatives (HoR) and National Assembly on Jestha 15—that falls on May 29—this year. The HoR regulation requires the government to start pre-budget discussion 15 days before the budget.
But Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli has yet to call the budget session. He called the House session on May 10 only for the purpose of floor test and ended that session after failing the floor test.
The president generally announces House session giving a three-day window. There will be just a few days for the House to discuss the government's policies and programs before the budget even if President Bidya Devi Bhandari were to call House session now.
Instead of holding pre-budget discussion and discussion on the policies and programs, Oli is planning to seek floor test before the budget. Education Minister Kroshna Gopal Shrestha has publicly stated that the government will bring budget only after passing the floor test.
It is not yet clear whether Oli will pass the floor test as Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP), which has declared it will sit in the opposition, has yet to decide whether to vote in favor of or against the Oli government.
The government will be toppled if the Thakur-Mahato faction of JSP, that has been close to Oli in recent times, does not vote in support of the government. Oli flunking the floor test will put the budget into further uncertainty as the House will have to focus on forming the next government.
Oli, who has been using the option of ordinance to squirm past difficulties with blessing of President Bhandari, will not have that weapon this time as the Constitution has clearly stated that the budget must be presented to the joint session of the federal parliament.
National Assembly (NA) member of the main opposition NC Radheshyam Adhikari says the current situation has arisen due to Oli's indifference toward the HoR reinstated by the Supreme Court (SC) after he dissolved it on December 20, 2020. "I have already informed the main opposition leader about the delay in calling House session. This government does not want to convene House session."