Be realistic

The National Planning Commission’s (NPC) new team is seeking to introduce a three-year interim plan focussing on rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the Maoist insurgency.

For this, a budget of Rs.1.10 billion has been allocated for the fiscal year 2006-07. Through this, the NPC plans to concentrate on the service sector, rehabilitation of the displaced, and acceleration of development efforts to boost the economy through more

foreign aid and investment. The new team is expected to conduct an on-the-spot assessment of various projects and inputs in the process of producing a document that may be able to address the new challenges of development.

Past experiences bear ample testimony to the fact that frequent changes in government have hampered implementation of projects for want of coordination among line agencies and the stakeholders. The Tenth Plan is a case in point. The interim government that will include the Maoists might well decide to make some changes in the newly-designated NPC itself. But the main mandate of the interim government will still be the holding of Constituent Assembly elections, paving the way for a new constitution, elections under it and formation of a democratically elected government that alone will have the legitimacy to engage in long-term planning. Therefore, the present NPC and the interim government is better off focussing only on short-term projects. Even in this context, they should set realistic targets stressing a more participatory approach that ensures successful implementation of the projects.