National Innovation Center (NIC)’s Mahabir Pun and Nepal government have reached a multi-point agreement. On May 1, 2023, Deputy Prime Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka representing the government, and the Chairman of the NIC Mahabir Pun signed the bilateral agreement which also ended the protest by the latter which started on March 28.
Mr. Pun and his team staged a peaceful protest demanding various initiatives from the government for the encouragement of ICT in Nepal.
Mahabir Pun and Nepal Government agreement for the ICT growth in Nepal
- Nepal government will establish a centralized fund for research and development (R&D), innovation, and invention. It will be utilized for the same purposes mentioned earlier.
- The federal parliament will pass a bill in the next session to set up the funds. The draft for the bill will be prepared in consultation with all the parties in concern within 60 days.
- From the next fiscal year FY 2080/81, 1 percent of the federal budget will be allocated for R&D, innovation, and invention.
- Institutional provision to be implemented for R&D, innovation, and invention. The government shall revise the existing law to facilitate an easier process for permission, license, registration, operation, and sustainability for the products and services resulting from inventions.
- The government will take into account other topics in the demands while formulating the law.
- Bilateral meetings including the representatives from both the government and NIC will be held to analyze all the topics mentioned above.
- The agreement also included the point to immediately “end the protest being staged under the leadership of Mahabir Pun”.
Mahabir Pun protest for the necessary provisions from the government to boost ICT in Nepal
The Mahabir Pum-led protest was to force the government into making necessary provisions to encourage startups, innovation, and ICT in Nepal. This protest is also in protest against the government for not making necessary provisions for Yatri bikes’ registration.
Mr. Pun is the founder/chairman of the non-profit organization Rastriya Avishkar Kendra which was established on 9th November 2012. He has been vocal about the need for the ICT growth of Nepal and is critical of the government’s lack of solid efforts to realize the Digital Nepal goals. The government has already announced a new provision to allow Nepal-made vehicle registration.
Let’s hope the agreement sorts out some shortcomings in Nepal’s existing regulations for the IT field to help promote Nepali innovations.