Nepal Needs Long Term Vision

<br>Dinesh Chandra Devkota, PhD

July 10, 2012, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 06 No.-03 July 06 -2012 (Aashar 22,2069)<BR>

Politically, Nepal has seen a lot of changes in the last five years. The country has already turned into a federal, democratic republic by abolishing the monarchy since 2008. However, the country's economic agenda remains the old one. In the context of growing economic aspirations of the people, Nepal needs to formulate a long term vision for the country.  Nepal has many priorities and many challenges ahead. Our experiences have already shown that we cannot bring any tangible change without making the country economically prosperous.


In this context, I had proposed Nepal Development Vision 2030. Every political party and leader wants to see the country as economically strong and prosperous. This is the reason there is the need to develop some sort of consensus among the country’s major political parties over the development modalities.


Nepal has many areas to explore and exploit for the overall development of the country. From tourism to water resources and currently the remittances, Nepal has many advantages.  Given the opportunity of utilization natural, financial and human resources, including technology and prospects of enhancing development results mainly through structural and policy reforms, good governance, restoration of peace and security, and political stability, Nepal can easily graduate from LDCs to a middle income country by 2017. During my tenure as a vice chairman of National Planning Commission, I asked experts groups to prepare the Nepal Vision Document 2030. Before my resignation from the post of vice chair, I released it to the public. My whole argument is based on that document.


Despite Nepal’s efforts of nearly six decades of planned development, the country is still under the category of the least developed countries (LDCs) in the world with per capita income of USD 642 and human development index (0.418). Due to the low level of development, productive forces and inadequate capacity of plan implementation, coupled with weak monitoring system, almost all the development plan targets remained unmet. Given the population growth rate of above two percent, the average economic growth rate of the last decade (2001-2011) is just 3.8 percent.


Major problems facing the country are high rate of poverty, high underemployment rate, social exclusion, gender disparity, income inequality and low quality of life. Several factors likes subsistence agriculture, deteriorating industrial environment, power shortage, political instability, policy gaps, weak public service delivery mechanism have led to low level of economic growth and development.


Of course, remittances have been contributing to accelerate the economic growth. According to a recent report, the contribution of remittances to GDP is over 22 percent. The studies have shown that it has become the major source of cash income for more than 50 percent of the households and has contributed to preserve foreign reserve at a comfortable situation. The experiences have shown that the worker’s remittances are highly influenced by the policy of destination country and should not be considered as a perennial source of income.


Although Nepal has already executed many five years and three years development plans, it is unable to achieve the economic growth. Given the current political instability, Nepal cannot even now write its plan for five years and the country will depend upon the interim plans for many years to come. Looking at all these experiences, I had worked out Nepal Development Vision 2030 with an aim to build a prosperous, peaceful and just Nepal during my tenure as a vice chairman of National Planning Commission.  This vision has its importance in the present context when the country is in the process of historical transformation. This transformation will ultimately have impacts on social, cultural and economic areas of the country. Thus, I have proposed a visionary planning approach. It is necessary for Nepal. All of us know that the development vision is an articulation of aspirations of the people for steering the country to desired goals.


Nepal is not a first country to develop the vision goal. There are many countries, particularly like ours, that have developed such documents. Although Japan is a highly developed country, in its vision document, Japan has underscored realization of a society built upon equal-partnership as one of the key issues to achieve national goal as the country. Nepal has also introduced the concept of long-term development in Ninth Plan (1997-2002) in which the long term development objective was set so as to create a society that is cultured, modern development oriented and endowed with skills through alleviating widespread poverty for two decades. The tenth plan incorporated the vision and targets of ninth plan. It is unfortunate that subsequent plans did not win the vision. The first three year interim plan (2007-2010) was formulated after the People’s Movement II with a vision to building a prosperous, modern and just Nepal. It was modified to prosperous, peaceful and just Nepal in the current Three Year Plan (2011-2013)


No country can move ahead without a long term vision and Nepal is no exception. This is what you can find in Nepal Development Vision 2030.

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