File photo: Nepal PM and Council of Ministers' Office

Nepal government has reduced the number of public holidays by 22 days. A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Wednesday took the decision on the recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), The Kathmandu Post reports.

State Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Baskota said there would be 89 public holidays next year, down from 104. Of the total, 67 public holidays will be applicable for all the civil servants while 22 will be given to the ones representing specific religion or culture.

According to the minister, the increase in working days of civil servants will help in realising the government’s vision of achieving higher economic growth rate.

Nepal is among the countries having a high number of public holidays. According to Administrative expert Kashi Raj Dahal, the government decision conforms to Administrative Reform Advice 2070 (BS) that suggested cutting the number of public holidays.

Quoting sources the report said MoHA had proposed removing Republic Day, Democracy Day, Civil Service Day, National Unity Day, Martyrs Day and Democracy Day holidays. Recommendations also included removing religious holidays like Ghatasthapana, Kojagrat Purnima, Ram Nawami, Krishna Janmastami and partial holidays on the occasion of Janai Purnima and Rishi Panchami. The government has not announced the occasions removed from the list of public holidays.

“The reduction in public holidays is commendable. This will increase efficiency of bureaucracy as well as benefit the public,” Dahal said. Dahal headed the committee that prepared the Administrative Reform Advice 2070. He said the number of religious holidays is more than required.

Most developed economies in the world have two-day weekend. This concept of two-day weekend is not practical for a country like Nepal, he said.

“The concept of two-day weekend was implemented in Kathmandu valley. It was revoked later as it was not practical for a country like Nepal,” Dahal said, adding that the countries offering two-day weekend holiday generally have longer working hours in comparison to Nepal where the government offices function from 10 am to 5 pm.

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