Need to improve social protection schemes in Nepal stressed

Kathmandu, Feb 16 (IANS) Government officials and disaster experts have called for an improvement of social protection schemes in future emergency responses in Nepal.

In a seminar organised by Unicef here on Tuesday, they said the government should learn from the devastating earthquake which occurred on April 25, 2015, Xinhua reported.

Yubaraj Khatiwada, vice chairman of the National Planning Commission said: “We need a proper institution, capacity, legislation and better schemes to deliver relief through a consolidated mechanism.”

In response to the devastating quake, the Nepalese government, in cooperation with Unicef, has provided an emergency cash transfer to vulnerable groups in 19 most affected districts in the country.

However, an assessment of the programme found major problems such as exclusion of many registered beneficiaries, delay in distribution of cash, low access of people to the cash distribution area, low awareness about the scheme and limited capacity of local government offices.

“Though the scheme has been a huge success to provide relief to the victims for their short-term basic daily needs, there are still challenges for implementation of such projects,” Nicholas Mathers, cash transfer specialist at Unicef said during his presentation.

Meanwhile, Unicef is launching the second phase of the Emergency Top-up Cash Transfer Programme for vulnerable children this year, starting from May.

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