11th Plan Bigger Than 10th Plan in Absolute Size

No money

The 11th Plan may be smaller in terms of “investment programmes” but in “absolute size,” it would be bigger than the 10th Plan, Gross National Happiness Commission Secretary Karma Tshiteem said.

This means that, while investment in infrastructure might be less than the previous plan, the cost of maintaining the infrastructure built up in the Tenth Plan would be more, explained commission officials.

“It would be smaller, since we depend a lot on development assistance and, to a large degree, we still would,” secretary Karma Tshiteem said. “There, we may face some challenges and may not see quantum increases in development assistance, like we saw in the past.”

With an estimated outlay of Nu 201B, work on the plan that would make Bhutan “self-reliant with inclusive green socio-economic development,” in the next five years began since August last year. The plan begins in July next year.

The commission has proposed “16 National Key Result Areas (NKRAs), as strategic interventions at the national level that would directly contribute to the achieve the overall objective.

One such key result area under the “sustainable development” pillar for example, is “sustained economic growth”, which would be achieved if Bhutan’s annual GDP growth is 9-10 percent, and if fiscal deficit is maintained at less than five percent over the plan period.

Another key result area is “food security”, which the commission feels would be achieved, if Bhutan becomes “cereal self-sufficient with 195,000 metric tones per annum.” Bringing down youth unemployment from 9.3 per- cent today to less than five percent is another “key result area.”

Income poverty is to be further brought down to 10 percent from 15 percent. One of the targets of the ongoing 10th Plan, is reducing multidimensional poverty level to below 15 percent from the existing 25.8 percent.

These 25.8 percent of the population are poor in access to improved sanitation (pit latrines with slab), cooking fuel (if wood, dung or charcoal used), schooling (five years of school education) and electricity.

Under the good governance pillar, one key area is “gender friendly environment for women’s participation,” besides “safe society and improving public service delivery.”

The indicators to see if this is achieved are to increase women representation in parliament, increase female enrolment in tertiary education to 100 percent, bring down female unemployment to three percent and youth female unemployment to six percent.

For these 16 national key areas, which are the objectives at a national level, the commission has proposed 120 Sectorial Key Result Areas (SKRAs), which are results or objectives aspired by the sectors. To measure these results are 300 Key Performance Indicators. “We proposed around 250 interventions, which, if implemented, would have direct impact on the achievements of the results, both at sector and national level,” a commission official said.

The commission has further identified five key strategies to achieve the 16 national objectives. They are poverty reduction, private sector development, human resource development, balanced regional development and ICT.

Poverty reduction would be done first through Targeted Poverty Reduction Intervention in those communities that have not been able to benefit from mainstream development of the past.

While private sector development,has been a key strategy of all past development plans, it has not been able to play the envisaged critical role commission officials felt. The Eleventh Plan aims to create an enabling environment for private sector development through government led private sector development PPP, adequate supporting infrastructure and strengthening the financial system.

The long-term vision is to transform Bhutan into an ICT-enabled knowledge-based society would be done through the National Human Resource Development Master Plan that is being developed.

“The master plan shall identify critical skills required until 2020 to realise the goals of the economic development policy,” commission officials said.

The plan would also focus on establishing high-end educational or vocational training institution and also explore the feasibility of establishing one or two new universities in Bhutan. Commission officials said they are progressing as per the “road map” that was framed to prepare the plan so that the final draft would be ready by December.

“We’re carrying out consultations here with the sectors, while local governments are doing the same with gewog authorities and people,” secretary Karma Tshiteem said.

This story from KUENSEL

KUENSEL is Bhutan's national newspaper. Founded in 1967, KUENSEL is Bhutan's oldest newspaper.