New regulations proposed to bring NA under greater civilian control
KATHMANDU, Aug 16: The Bills Committee of the cabinet has started discussions on the draft of the regulations prepared by the defense ministry to further tighten civilian control of the army.
If passed by the committee, the proposed regulations will authorize the defense ministry to keep a record of army personnel and direct the army on policy and management issues, according to a source familiar with the proposed regulations.
In addition, the regulations propose authorizing the ministry to inspect any army unit whenever it deems necessary.
"These provisions have been proposed so as to strengthen civilian control of the army and to translate the spirit of the new Army Act in practice," said a senior official at the defense ministry on condition of anonymity.
In addition, the draft proposes gradually reducing the role of the army in non-military activities like procurement. “Nowhere in the world is the army involved in the procurement of equipment and logistics. In other countries, the role of the army is strictly confined to military activities," said the government official.
At the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Maoist ministers Post Bahadur Bogati and Dinanath Sharma had opined that the regulations should have more such provisions that ensure people´s supremacy over the army. As the ministers suggested that the draft also incorporate agreements between the major parties on integration of Maoist combatants, the committee has also formed a taskforce to carry out the task.
Last November, the major political parties had agreed to relax certain conditions of the army, including those relating to age, education and marital status for integration of Maoist combatants.