Nepali youth leaders learn how federal system works in India

Participants in a course on India’s federal system of government gather at Hamdard University in New Delhi.

Young Nepali opinion makers and officials recently took part in a three-week course on India’s federal system of governance, organized by the Forum of Federations, in partnership with the Center for Federal Studies (CFS) at Hamdard University, New Delhi. Twenty participants, including youth leaders, civil society and media representatives, government officials and university professors, participated in the program.

For the Nepalese, the experience deepened the understanding of federal forms of governance and other constitutional issues so they can now better participate in the ongoing debate back home. In Nepal, a special constituent assembly is writing a new constitution for the country, making it a federal democratic republic. Skills in setting up, running and modifying this new federal system are urgently needed in Nepal.

Indian experts and academics presented conceptual aspects of federalism while CFS faculty discussed India’s federal governance systems. Participants also visited government institutions including the Inter-State Council of India, the National Human Rights Commission, the Election Commission and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, India’s cabinet-level department for local village governments. Senior Indian officials also led a discussion on the roles and functions of these federal bodies. At a visit to the Rajasthan Institute of Public Administration (RIPA) in Jaipur, Rajasthan, the students gained practical insights on different types of federal relationships.

The course, which ran from Jan. 4 -24, 2009, concluded with participant presentations highlighting four major themes relevant to Nepal: the accommodation of diversity, fiscal federalism, power sharing and local government.

Participants hope to further their experience from the three-week course by writing articles for newspapers and magazines, conducting research on federalism-related issues, running interactive programs in their own organizations and by creating an alumni network made up of course participants, to share knowledge and information on their on their activities when back in Nepal.

Ms. Irina Shmakova and Mr. Sanjeev Pokharel co-ordinated the event on behalf of the Forum.

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