Nepal’s Budget 2011: The Leak That Wasn’t

After much drama and last minute bickering between the ruling coalition and regional parties, Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari was finally able to present Nepal’s budget for fiscal year 2011/12 to the parliament today. But things were not smooth.

पहिलै मिडियामा आइसकेको बजेट अर्थमन्त्रीले सदनमा पढेर सकेका छन्। बजेट लिक गरेकोमा विपक्षीले उनको राजिनामा मागेका छन्। #npbudget
Nagariknews1
July 15, 2011

Finance Minister was accused of leaking the budget to the media well ahead of formal presentation to the Parliament. The opposition parties demand his resignation over this “leak”.

भाषणअघि नै बजेट ‘लिक’ भएकोबारे छानबिन समिति गठन गर्न माग, #npbudget
Rjushrestha
July 15, 2011
Opposition demands formation of an inquiry committee to investigate the alleged “leak”.
But did the alleged “leak” actually happened?
सभासदहरुले नाटक गरिरहेका छन्। पोहोरपरार नि अर्थमन्त्रीले भाषण गर्दैगर्दा मन्त्रालयको साइटमा भाषण राखिन्थ्यो। हेर्ने प्रमाण मै छु #npbudget
salokya
July 15, 2011

Salokya, blogger at popular Nepali blog Mysansar, says that last year and year before that, the budget used to be released online as the Finance Minister is presenting it to the parliament. He can personally attest to that.

Official response to the growing controversy, from Energy Minister Gokarna Bista, says that the budget was provided online as a tradition and it was not leaked.

So, if providing the budget online as the presentation is ongoing happened last year (and no one then raised any questions about that), why is the opposition so concerned about this “leak”this year? Are they using/abusing the budget to settle political scores? or is this just a gross misunderstanding?

 It is a combination of both.

it’s 2011 and the FM is talking about installing computers in the govt off in Dillibazar. #npbudget
deepakadk
July 15, 2011

This tweet from Deepak Adhikari is telling of the way the government/political system views internet and information technology. Government offices in Dillibazar will now get computers( if the budget is implemented as intended).

Nepali political leaders, most of them, are technologically disadvantaged. They may be masters in the game of political manuvers and brinkmasnip, but technology for them is not a tool, but a potential liability.
Budget is a sensitive document and unauthorized publication/distribution is serious breach and has to be investigated. But in this case, the breach never actually happened. Government released the budget online, as the previous government did last year and year before that. There was no “leak” or malice intended. 
 Lack of understanding technology and how it is being used caused all this ruckus, and the intention of the opposition to use obstructionism as a weapon to make themselves heard.
Indeed a shameful episode!

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