NDC MEETING : PM for balanced development

Kathmandu, June 24:

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today stressed the need of regional balance in development plans based on the need of people and their aspirations.

Inaugurating the Nepal Development Council (NDC) mee-ting in the capacity of its chair, Koirala suggested to formulate separate plans for Mountain, Hill and Tarai regions. “The need of development activities vary from one region to another,” he said.

The two-day long NDC meeting hosted by the National Planning Commission will make a series of deliberations on the three-year Interim Plan, before the government endorses it and enforce from the next fiscal year. “I’m neither a planner nor an economist but I think we need to change development approach and formulate plan and policies according to the need of people living in differe-nt parts of the country,” he said, adding that past plans and policies should be reviewed.

Stating that the implementation has always been weaker, the Prime Minister strongly called on effective implementation and strict monitoring. “The monitoring system should be dynamic to ensure the effective implementation,” he said.

Koirala also stated that the government is committed to address the issues and concerns raised by different strata of society. “The issues and concerns could be genuine, as they have been suppressed for ages. People’s expectations have gone up. However, with a weak economic base and limited resources, the government cannot address all the problems at one go.” The Premier reiterated that peace and security as well as social ha-rmony are fundamentals to institutionalising democracy and socio-economic development.

“The major goals of the Interim Plan is to institutionalise the achievements of people’s movement 2006 and to prepare a basis for economic-social transformation for building a prosperous, modern and just Nepal,” said Dr Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, vice-chairman of the NPC. “It will take about three years for a new government to be formed and formulate a new periodic plan. Thus, the plan provides a basis for the transition until the formation of the new full-fledged plan.” It emphasises on reconstruction of physical infrastructure, rehabilitation, social integration, economic revitalisation, inclusive development, and socio-economic transformation.

The Plan, which will come into force from the coming fiscal year, aims to spend Rs 587.7 billion on development activities to achieve an average 5.5 per cent economic growth and lower the incidence of poverty by seven percentage points to 24 per cent.

Likewise, the plan also aims to increase per capita income by 3.3 per cent on annual average and set a target of limiting inflation to 5.6 per cent. It also targets to achieve average annual growth of 3.6 per cent for agriculture sector and 6.5 per cent for non-agriculture sector.

To achieve these targets, the government is planning to invest 28.84 per cent (Rs 169.49 billion) of the total planned expenditure while the remaining amount is expected to come from the private sector. The private sector is estimated to invest Rs 418.19 billion.

The government’s total expenditure, including recurrent expenditure, is estimated to remain at Rs 493.38 billion during the plan period. The recurrent expenditure, which mainly finances salaries of civil servants, security expenditure and interest of loans, among others, is expected to absorb 55.28 per cent of the total expenditure.