Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nepal Looks to Introduce Fortified Flour at Small Mills to Reduce Anemia

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Nepal will enlist the help of small millers to boost the production of fortified cereal flour, which can help reduce anemia and other illnesses linked to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, particularly in poor, rural areas.

To support the government’s goal, the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) — financed by the Government of Japan and administered by the Asian Development Bank — is providing a grant of $1.8 million for producing fortified flour at small, village-based milling centers, known as Chakki mills. The project is targeting the addition of iron, folic acid and vitamin A to milled wheat, maize and millet, benefiting around 200,000 people.

Anemia, caused by a lack of essential nutrients, is a major public health issue in Nepal, resulting in many maternal and perinatal deaths and development problems in children. Fortified flour, used to combat anemia, is now produced in large, commercial milling enterprises but this is only a small proportion of the total consumed, and cost, technology and other barriers have hindered its introduction at smaller mills.

The government, along with the Canadian non-government organization, Micronutrient Initiative, is now testing low-cost fortification systems at water and electric-powered Chakki mills and the JFPR-funded project will help accelerate and expand this process.

“Fortified flour can reduce national rates of vitamin and mineral deficiencies within one year of implementation," said Snimer Sahni, Principal Project Economist in ADB’s South Asia Department. "This project will define the conditions, capacities and resources needed for the sustainable expansion of small-mill flour fortification, benefiting the poor and vulnerable.”

The project will seek to find realistic solutions to the problems that currently prevent flour fortification at small mills, such as recurring costs, supply and support system difficulties, quality assurance issues, and a lack of consumer awareness. Among the innovations it will consider are community-based financing options, including possible channels for converting grain received as payment for use of the milling facilities, into hard cash.

Community participation is a key element of the project, with 65 village development committees to receive resources for the delivery and monitoring of the use of nutrients by millers, for collecting payments, for providing quality assurance monitors, and for raising community awareness. The target is to provide 360 small millers with the equipment and training to produce about 19,000 metric tons of fortified flour which will give nutrition protection for more than 200,000 people for two years.

Once the project outcomes have been assessed, they may be expanded to other parts of Nepal through ADB’s country assistance program.

Along with JFPR, the government will provide $122,000, the private sector $14,725, and beneficiaries about $130,000, for a total project cost of $2.066 million. The Ministry of Health and Population is the executing agency for the project which will run from 2010 to 2012.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NRB for special act on deposit insurance

POST REPORT KATHMANDU, DEC 27 - Following the government's policy announcement of introducing deposit insurance from this year, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has suggested that the institution that insures the deposits be formed under a special act. NRB has also submitted its concept paper to the Finance Ministry.

While the government is yet to decide whether to treat this scheme as insurance or a financial scheme, the central bank has said that it should come under the deposit guarantee scheme and not insurance.

It has given two options regarding the institution dealing with deposit insurance --either upgrade the existing Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) or form another institution. Given the huge transactions associated with this scheme, the DICGC is in no position to guarantee deposits with its present financial strength. Its paid-up capital is just Rs. 70 million.

NRB has proposed that the company that runs the deposit insurance scheme have a paid-up capital of at least Rs. 1 billion. For this, all the stakeholders including the government, NRB and other financial institutions should be asked to buy shares in the institution that provides deposit insurance.

A senior NRB official said that bankers were also agreeable to injecting money into the institution that insures deposits.

Sashin Joshi, president of the Nepal Bankers Association, said that they were at the final phase of preparing their own report and would be submitting it to NRB within a few days. A DICGC official said that the DICGC could generate capital of Rs. 310 million from the existing shareholders including the government, NRB and a few other banks. "Other stakeholders including banks and financial institutions could inject money to raise its paid-up capital to Rs. 1 billion."

The DICGC source said that it was ready to shoulder the responsibility if it was upgraded. The DICGC has not been getting enough business after NRB phased out priority sector lending from the banks.

The government annou-nced through the budget for the current fiscal year that it would ensure the compulsory insurance coverage for individual deposits up to Rs. 200,000 in both fixed and savings accounts this year.

Joint secretary at the Finance Ministry Bimal Wagle said that the ministry was initiating the discussion process on deposit insurance and the ministry had sent a proposal regarding the issue to the NBA. When NRB views that deposit insurance is not an insurance policy, the Insurance Board (IB) is of the view that it should be considered as an insurance scheme.

IB chairman Phatta Bahadur K.C. said that it should be operated as per the principles of insurance. "There should be a re-insurance back-up for this scheme," said K.C.

President of the Develop-ment Banks Association Jhapat Bohora said that the responsibility of insuring deposits could be given to insurance companies as they get reinsured.

"It is better to give the responsibility of regulating the company that insures deposits to the IB," he said.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Load shedding hours to increase to six hours a day from next week

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is increasing the load shedding hours to six hours from the existing four hours a day, from next week.

NEA has said, it is forced to increase the load shedding hours as the production is decreasing due to reducing water-levels in the rivers, while the consumption is increasing due to the winter season.

NEA's executive director Jivendra Jha said, a new schedule for load shedding will be released next week.

NEA sources said, the water level in Kulekhani hydro power project, the country's only reservoir based hydro-project has been saved due to the three-day strike called by the Unified CPN (Maoist) when most of the industries remained closed. The level of water in Kulekhani at present is more than 1500 meters.

Meanwhile, load shedding hours later this year is likely to be as long as it was last year as India has agreed to give only 30 MW power in commercial rate as opposed to 60 MW requested by Nepal.

Nepal is importing another 80 MW at a subsidized rate.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nepal Targets Overhaul of Power Network to Reduce Shortages, Boost Growth

27 November 2009

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Years of underinvestment in electricity infrastructure has left Nepal with one of the most unreliable power supplies in South Asia, putting a brake on the country’s economic growth.

In response, Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a loan of $65 million equivalent to strengthen and expand electricity transmission and distribution facilities in a bid to cut network losses and reduce frequent supply interruptions and outages.

Funds will also be used to upgrade two hydropower plants, introduce compact fluorescent lamps, and install solar and solar-wind powered streetlights in a push to boost energy efficiency, increase the use of clean renewable technologies, and take some of the strain off the national grid. Public-Private franchising partnerships will be developed in selected urban areas to improve service quality to consumers, providing a model that could be replicated in future.

The Energy Access and Efficiency Improvement Project will support the Government of Nepal’s long-term vision to provide universal coverage using grid-based and off-grid supplies by 2027. Installed generating capacity at the end of 2008 was 615 MW with just 33% of households connected to the national grid.

“The project will strengthen and increase supply capacity, increase consumer connections, improve the finances of the state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority, and eventually allow for increased cross-border energy trade, giving the economy a boost,” said Priyantha Wijayatunga, Energy Specialist in ADB’s South Asia Department.

An estimated 20,000 additional households are expected to directly benefit from the distribution improvements, while all 1.5 million grid-connected electricity consumers will receive more reliable power supplies. The installation of 1,000 solar and solar-wind streetlights in municipal areas of Bhaktapur, Kathmandu and Lalitpur will improve safety, particularly for women and children, while the project is expected to reduce an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

ADB’s loan from its concessional Asian Development Fund covers 69% of the project cost of $93.7 million. The loan has a 32-year term, including a grace period of 8 years. Interest is charged at 1.0% per annum during the grace period and 1.5% per year for the rest of the term.

Grants totaling $4.5 million from the Climate Change Fund and Multi-Donor Clean Energy Fund, administered by ADB, will also be provided. The Government and Nepal Electricity Authority will supply the balance of $24.2 million. Nepal Electricity Authority is the executing agency for the project which is due for completion around September 2014.


Airports' Upgrade in Nepal to Increase Safety, Boost Tourism

24 November 2009

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help Nepal appeal to even more tourists through a project to improve the country's airports and civil aviation safety standards.

The ADB Board of Directors approved a total of $80 million – including a grant of $10 million and a loan of $70 million equivalent – to finance the Nepal Air Transport Capacity Enhancement Project.

The project will improve safety and capacity at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, and three domestic airports – Lukla, Rara and Simikot – that serve remote areas inaccessible by road. TIA, Nepal's only international airport, will be reconfigured and upgraded to international safety standards, with the project including provision for the construction of 1.4 km of new taxiways, a new power supply system, the refurbishment of its international terminal and the construction of a new temporary domestic terminal. The three domestic airports will receive improved communication equipment, visual approach aids, and weather equipment.
“Due to the challenging terrain in Nepal, air transport is an essential part of the country’s transport system, providing access to many remote towns and villages in the mountainous areas,” said Mr. Dong-Kyu Lee, Transport Specialist in ADB’s South Asia Department.

“Providing safe and reliable aviation access to the country will attract more tourists and greatly contribute to Nepal’s economy."

With international and domestic passenger traffic expected to increase significantly in the next four years, the project will also seek to enhance the organizational effectiveness of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, the regulatory body that controls the country's aviation industry. Existing regulations will be updated to meet international standards and viable opportunities for private sector participation in future airport developments will be identified.

ADB's grant and loan, from its concessional Asian Development Fund, covers 87% of the project cost of $92 million. The Government of Nepal will contribute the remaining 13%. The ADB loan has a 32-year term, including a grace period of eight years. Interest is charged at 1% per annum during the grace period and 1.5% per year for the rest of the term.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal is the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion around the end of 2014.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

ADB Supports Nepal's Drive to Bring Unregistered Citizens in from the Cold

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - A Government drive to increase the number of poor Nepalese with legal identity documents, which are required to gain access to essential benefits and services, is to receive support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

A $2 million grant from the ADB-administered Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) will fund awareness raising programs and intensive registration campaigns.

"The poor and vulnerable in Nepal have very little access to goods, resources, and opportunities such as social welfare benefits or free school textbooks, and one of the reasons for this is they don't have legal identity documents, such as birth, citizenship, migration, marriage, and death certificates," said Jogendra Ghimire, counsel at ADB's Office of the General Counsel.

It is estimated that at least 75% of Nepal's population do not have a birth certificate, and that between 3 million and 5 million people eligible citizens have not acquired citizenship.

An outdated and complex legislative framework, burdensome procedures, low awareness among Government officials and the general public, high registration costs, discrimination, and low capacity have all contributed to the lack of legal documentation among the poor.

The ADB project will be implemented over four years in the districts of Kathmandu, Jhapa, Ilam, Bhaktapur, Latitpur, Palpa, Rupandehi, Mustang, Kailali, and Dang. It will aim to provide birth certificates and other identity documents to at least 80% of residents in the target areas, and ensure individual details are logged in a computerized civil registration system able to be accessed by relevant Government departments. Registration training for civil servants and a public awareness campaign will also be conducted.

The JFPR was established by the Japanese Government and ADB in May 2000 to provide direct relief to the poorest and most vulnerable segments of society while building up their capacities for self-help and income generation.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Doctors Calling for Health Insurance Reform

Doctors know as well as anyone that inaction on health insurance reform is no longer an option. They’ve seen first-hand what’s broken about our health care system; how, despite the fact that we spend twice as much as any industrialized nation, we aren’t any healthier for it. They’ve seen what happens when their patients’ coverage is retroactively canceled just when they need it most. The heartbreak a family endures when they can’t afford the care they need. Or the aftereffects of going too long without a regular checkup or screening. Doctors also spend far too much of their time running down forms and quibbling with insurance company bureaucrats, instead of caring for patients. One recent study found that the average physician spends 142 hours every year interacting with health plans, to the tune of $68,274 per physician per year.

For all these reasons, doctors joined President Obama at the White House this morning to join the push for health insurance reform.

Over the past week, OFA has been organizing events for health insurance reform with doctors and nurses across the country. At a “Roundtable” event in Gainesville, FL, Dr. Rob Hatch said the health care status quo is unsustainable and unacceptable. Here’s his quote from an article in the Gainesville Sun:

"It's just inexcusable. It's absolutely inexcusable and we need to do something about it. One reason our health care is so bad is that we have so many uninsured people," Hatch said.

In Albany, Georgia, about half a dozen doctors are planning to make 40,000 calls for health insurance reform. They’re talking to locals about what reform will mean for them, answering questions, debunking rumors and asking them to call on their senators and representatives to support President Obama’s plan. Here’s an excerpt from the piece on WALB News:

"I was calling to discuss health care reform with you," said Dr. Tania Smith, of Prestige Pediatrics.

Public opinion over health care reform remains divided and now these south Georgia health care professionals are weighing in. They joined forces with Organizing for America to push reform now.

"Right now people are looking for answers, they're looking for the truth about health care reform and doctors are a great place to start," said Ken King, Organizing for America.

Pediatrician Tania Smith is on the front line of this debate. While critics worry the President's plan may take decisions away from doctors, she feels insurance companies are already doing that. "As the system is going now we have a lot of people who are medically ignorant making decisions and denying claims and making insurance populations where you don't have any wellness visits included in your plan," said Smith.

As part of our multi-pronged work with doctors, we recently launched an effort asking doctors to write and send “Letters to the Editor” to their local papers to make the case for reform. Have you written a LTE to your hometown paper?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

South Asian youth declaration on climate change

Read the declaration made by youth at the South Asian Youth Summit on Climate Change held on 6 September 2009 in Dhulikhel, Nepal. Youth express their concerns and are deeply perturbed by the impacts and causes of climate change on human and natural systems and reaffirm the fundamental relationship between human and natural systems. For details, click here.

SOURCE: [E-civicus] e-CIVICUS 455 14 September 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Few pics of Indonesia Earthquake 2009 !!!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

US Vice President Biden at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners: "An unsustainable position"

Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden addressed a meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at Maryland's National Harbor. He concentrated on the rapidly rising costs of health care in America, a factor in the debate known all too well to those charged with regulating our state insurance markets.

Vice President Biden also spoke about reform as a "moral issue," noting that no one can truly be secure in their insurance with our current system. Check out highlights from the speech below, or read the full remarks at

You understand first-hand this crisis. You've seen the impact on families, and on businesses, of the skyrocketing insurance premiums. You've seen the pressure it places on hard-working Americans and on businesses, who in my view overwhelmingly want to do the right thing by their employees by providing health -- decent health coverage, but are put in a really difficult spot.

And you're working hard each and every day to combat these problems and to stop the unjustifiable increases in health care costs and insurance costs, I should say, in just as -- just look at what you've been up against. I know you know it, but it's important the public know it. A report released by the White House today finds that health insurance premiums in states have gone up between 90 and 150 percent in the last decade, far faster than wages and inflation.

...All around the country -- all around the country we're seeing these gaps widen. And all in all, there was a 5.5 percent rise in premiums for families just this past year. During this Great Recession, when inflation actually fell [point] 7 percent. Inflation fell [point] 7 percent, and premiums increased 5.5 percent.

So the soaring premiums are not only hurting families and killing small businesses, they're hurting our competitive position all around the world. But as the report points out, they're hurting -- they're hurting our whole free enterprise system. They're hurting our ability to compete -- the business -- of business competing internationally.

...To state the obvious, this is simply an unsustainable position. Families, businesses, state budgets, our national economy -- all demand a significant change. And you're stuck in the middle of it all. You're stuck in the middle of it all. You read the letters. You see the tears. The people -- if it's like my state of Delaware and a lot of small states, people actually importune you on the street. They know who you are. They know your job. They come up to you. I'll bet you if I went around the room of insurance commissioners here, and ask you just to give me 10 stories, 10 stories you know first-hand from people literally approaching you -- at your home, your neighborhood, the grocery store, the football game, church -- it would be a literal saga. Well, it's happening all across America.

...I want to restore stability in our health care system. And there are basic ground rules we need right now. One, no discrimination for preexisting conditions; no exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductible or copays; no cost sharing for preventive care; no dropping of coverage for the seriously ill; no gender discrimination; no annual lifetime caps on coverage -- (applause) -- extended coverage for young adults; guaranteed insurance renewal.

...And far from running insurance companies out of business, we will be building the best thing about today's -- building on the best things about today's system, with more competition, more choice for customers -- and for the insurance companies, more customers, paying customers.

So when our critics say -- the third argument I hear is they say, well, this is not a moral issue. And some of us say there is a moral component to this. Well, tell that to the father who is fighting cancer and is told that his insurance won't cover any more treatment, because he's reached the annual limits. Tell that to a little girl who is in a full body cast, requires speech and physical therapy to recover only to be denied coverage for that therapy because it's deemed "maintenance" rather than "recovery." I could go to you and you could give me 25 other stories about why this is and does have a moral component to it. Or the mother with a diabetic child who is trying to cover the cost of insulin her child needs just to stay alive.

...So there's got to be a solution. Now, I'm confident that the one we are proposing is just the solution we need. But let's face it. Let's face it, there's a dire need to make this work. According to a stark report issued last week at Harvard University, as many as 45,000 people per year die owing to a lack of health insurance -- 45,000 individuals, according to a Harvard study. How is that possible?

...If we do nothing, in 10 years one in every $5 Americans earn will be spent on health care; in 30 years, one out of every $3 will be spent on health care if we do not bend the cost curve. Spending by the federal government on Medicare and Medicaid alone will be 15 percent of GDP by 2040 -- it's now about 5 percent. Right now about 46 percent of health care is government funded through Medicare and Medicaid.

...You support reform. You've said it in your health care reform principles. You said we need to protect consumers and increase the affordability and access to insurance. You all get it. You know better than almost anyone about the inefficiencies, the cost shifting -- the bad practices that presently corrode our health care system. You know these reforms will only serve to strengthen the vital work that you do each and every day. You're the best equipped to educate consumers. You are the best equipped to field complaints. You're the best equipped to serve as a critical line of defense against the abuse and fraud that had crushed families, crushed businesses, and crushed the dreams of millions of Americans. And you'll remain so.

Folks, the problem is real. The need for reform is acute, and the time is now. The poet Virgil once said the greatest wealth is health. The greatest wealth is health. Well, we're here to improve America's health, and in the process not incidentally secure and maintain America's wealth. They are not separable.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beema Samiti tightened the issuance of insurance policies in credit basis!!!

Request to visit the given link. The news can be useful to you.

Thanks & Regards,


Monday, September 7, 2009

My article at News Portal !!!

Pleased to inform that my article has been published at the News Portal of Weekly Nepal and Desh Bikash Weekly Newspaper.

The full article is available at:

The Original Article has just been published Beema Samiti (Insurance Board of Nepal) - 'Insurance News and Views' (Year 8, Issue 28-30, Kartik 065 - Shrawan 066).

Hopefully, it will be available at within couple of days.

Feedback expected.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Vehicle insurance compulsory from 1st September, 2009

The new insurance directive that requires compulsory insurance of vehicles is coming into effect from Tuesday 1st September, 2009, compelling all vehicle owners to operate full insurance coverage, including half a million rupees worth of third party insurance coverage.

The new rule will also allow kin of victims of road accidents to legally claim treatment cost of up to Rs 200,000 and death or permanent disability compensation amount of as much as Rs 500,000 from the vehicle owners.

According to the Department of Transport Management, a total of 850,614 vehicles are plying on the roads throughout the country. They include 19,685 buses, 7,497 mini buses, 40,437 trucks and tankers and 112,300 cars, sports utility vehicles and vans, among others.

“Even the owner of a bike will now have to pay half a million sum as compensation if an accident causes death of a person. Lack of insurance coverage will not work, as it is now duty of all vehicle owners to protect themselves from all forms of losses and liability,” Finance Minister Surendra Pandey said.

The new changes will almost double the insurance cost for the private vehicle owners. For passenger vehicles, the raise will be slightly on a higher side.

“But considering the new compensation amount, which is 10-fold of the existing amount, I believe the burden is within manageable limit,” said Pandey.

The government is enforcing mandatory insurance in the transportation sector with an aim to duly compensate the victims of roads accident and also to prevent unnecessary blockage of highways by the victims´ families.

“Our motive behind raising the death compensation amount to Rs 5 lakh from fifty thousand is to make sure that people get judicious compensation for the loss without having to resort to banda and strike. By making insurance compulsory, we wish to end hooliganism culture forever,” said Pandey.

Despite the enforcement announcement, the government, however, has not developed any mechanism to cross-check whether or not the vehicles plying on the road are covered with insurance. However, the government believes that the huge compensation obligation will compel all to correct their behavior for now. As a long-term solution, the government has made submission of insurance document mandatory for the registration and renewal of vehicles.

Minister Pandey also instructed the Insurance Board to launch aggressive information dissemination campaign so that people do not demand compensation higher than the stipulated amount.



Had heard a lot of it but had never gone through it.

No one to blame nor to cry for but feeling happy to write for the first time in my blog.

With warm regards from Kathmandu.................