Kathmandu, September 10
The National Planning Commission (NPC), the apex body that formulates the country’s development plans, has started framing the 14th periodic plan, which will work as a guiding tool for the government to design development policies and programmes in the coming years.
The NPC had begun this work, as the 13th periodic plan is expiring at the end of the current fiscal year.“We will initially come up with an approach paper on the next periodic plan in the next six months,” NPC Member Swarnim Wagle told The Himalayan Times. The actual plan will be finalised after that.
NPC has said the theme of the new plan will be ‘Inclusive Prosperity through Productive Investment’. It will focus on investment in five core areas of human capital, physical infrastructure, agriculture, social sector and good governance.
However, the NPC is yet to finalise the tenure of the new periodic plan.The country has so far come up with nine five-year plans and four three-year plans. The existing periodic plan has a life of three years.
“We are looking at the options of coming up with five-year or seven-year plan,” said Wagle, ruling out the possibility of coming up with another three-year plan.
The NPC is planning to buck the trend and introduce a seven-year plan for the first time keeping in view the government-set target of graduating to the league of developing countries within 2022.
So, if it is allowed to frame a seven-year plan, it intends to incorporate appropriate policies, programmes and strategies to ensure Nepal’s graduation from least developed countries within 2022.
“But to introduce the seven-year plan, we need political consensus, because it would be essential to give continuity to the plan even if there is a change in the government,” Wagle said.
In this regard, the NPC is planning to hold talks with former finance ministers of various political parties and former NPC vice chairmen.
If they show firm commitment to give continuity to the plan for the next seven years, the NPC will proceed accordingly. “If not, we’ll have to start framing a plan that lasts only for five years,” Wagle added.
The periodic plans introduced by the NPC over the years have helped the government to chart its development course. But unfortunately many of the targets set by the plan are never met.
For instance, the existing three-year plan had envisaged average annual growth rate of six per cent. But it is now sure that target will not be met. This is the same in the case of other indicators, such as job creation, electricity generation and extension of road networks.
This is largely because of failure to address structural problems in the economy, such as inequitable access to productive means and resources, and inability to ensure good governance.
A version of this article appears in print on September 11, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.