The Supreme Court has issued a “show-cause” notice to the government asking why Nepalis working in India are not included in the “foreign employment” category, and not treated on a par with other Nepalis working elsewhere. Writes Kantipur.
Responding to a writ petition on Friday, a single bench of justice Prakash Dhungana asked the Prime Minister’s Office and the Council of Ministers why Nepalis working in the southern neighbor were not recognized in the same way as those who go to other countries for employment.
“The Foreign Employment Act, 2007 clearly mentions that irrespective of the country of destination, every citizen going abroad for work is a migrant worker,” said Advocate Nirmal Kumar Upreti, one of the petitioners. “But labour migration to India has never been considered as foreign employment,” said Upreti, who filed the petition on behalf of Forum for Nation Building Nepal along with Dipak Raj Joshi. “Nepali workers in India do not have to take work permits and get insurance before migrating. This deprives them of financial support from the government and other compensation they could get from the Nepal government,” said Upreti. “The government has not maintained records of Nepali workers in India where they must be dying or getting injured too. But they can’t claim anything from the Nepal government.” According to Upreti, such discriminatory treatment towards Nepalis workers in India violates their constitutional rights to equal treatment.
Benefits of “Foreign Employment” status
Nepali migrant workers have received permits to work and live in over 170 countries, mainly in the Persian Gulf and Malaysia. Before going abroad, a worker has to contribute to the Migrant Workers’ Welfare Fund, maintained by the Foreign Employment Board, and buy insurance.
In return, migrant workers’ and their families receive financial assistance from the government in case a worker dies, is injured or contracts life-threatening diseases. The family of a migrant worker receives financial compensation of Rs 700,000 from the government if the worker dies abroad. In addition to that, they also get compensation from insurance companies which can amount up to Rs 1.5million. However, for availing these services, the worker must have contributed to the welfare fund and gone abroad with a labour permit.
Why Nepalis working in India must be treated equally
If the government starts issuing them [the people who go to India] labour permit, they will also contribute to the fund, and such workers and their families could benefit from the welfare fund. Migrant workers’ families not only get financial compensation for losses and injuries, but their children also get a scholarship from the board. If there is a law, then why they aren’t eligible for the work permit and enjoy all the facilities? But then, that’s not the case for Nepalis working in India and thus it has been discriminatory treatment.
Nepalis working in India under the foreign employment category also deprives them of the government’s reintegration schemes meant for returnees, a seed money for migrant workers, entrepreneurs from government targeting employment opportunities inside country. And since Nepalis working in India are not considered “foreign employed,” they can’t receive the soft-loan the government has been providing to returnee migrant workers and other facilities, even though those who work in India are also migrant workers.
Writ filed at Supreme Court demanding ‘Enough is Enough’ campaigners not be detained
The writ has been filed by law students and campaigners of Enough is Enough — Arun Satyal, Sasmit Pokharel and Krishna Pal.
A writ of mandamus has been filed in Supreme Court today demanding an order not to detain the protesters of ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign and passers-by.
First date of hearing for the interim order, which seeks that people protesting peacefully not be detained, is set for tomorrow.
The government has been detaining protestors, ‘Enough is Enough’ campaigners, and passers-by from various places including Baluwatar for the past few weeks. The protesters of the campaign and passers-by are claiming that they are being ill-treated by Nepal Police. The writ application has addressed the issue of ill-treatment as well.
New rules to regulate honors, awards
The government has amended the Decorations Rules-2008 in a bid to free it from controversy while conferring honours, titles and medals to various persons.
There is a tradition of conferring decorations to Nepali and foreign citizens, who make ‘outstanding contribution’ to various walks of national life, every year.
With the amendment of Decorations Rules-2008, the new provision states, the government may confer honours, titles and medals to no more than 202 persons at a time. Of them, only one person shall be honoured with Nepal Ratna (the highest civilian award) while Rastra Gaurav shall go to two persons. Title of Man Padavi shall be given away to 100 persons. Alankar and medal shall be conferred on 50 persons, each. Writes The Himalayan Times.
Earlier, the government had been giving away these titles to hundreds of persons, who were close to the authorities concerned and political parties, without evaluating their contribution to the nation and people. As the existing law does not prescribe the number of persons to be honoured with the titles, the government could give away awards to anyone.
Source: The HImalayan Times