Friday, March 29, 2019

NPI concludes global consultations on development plan and vision

Nepal Policy Institute (NPI) has concluded its global consultation on development plan and long-term vision of Nepal Diaspora.
The interaction programme – organised by Nepal Policy Institute (NPI) in association with NRNA Thailand today in Bangkok – saw some 32 experts from diverge areas of specialisation.
National Planning Commission (NPC) vice chairman Dr Puspa Raj Kadel addressed the interaction as a chief guest. According to NPI member Ramesh Singh, the programme was a part of NPI’s effort in collecting inputs from Nepali Diaspora for 15th periodic development plan and long-term vision of Nepal. The NPC had requested the NPI some 3 weeks ago for the input.
NPI had organised another interaction among America based professionals few days ago for the same purpose. The programme was coordinated by NPI secretary Anil Sigdel and EC member Rudra Aryal.
In the beginning of the interaction, NPC joint secretary Khom Raj Koirala briefed the Diaspora of the concept paper the NPC prepared for 15th Periodic Plan and long-term vision.
Informing the Diaspora about the consultations programme held in Nepal from local to National level to develop a draft of concept paper, Koirala mentioned that in the context Diaspora would be critical to finalise the draft. "NPC is keen on engaging NPI in developing a draft of concept paper from the early stage," he added.
Following the NPC’s presentation, NPI chair Khagendra Dhakal gave a presentation sharing the major points that were drawn through the global consultation to shape the Bangkok based interaction effectively. Presenting nine different problems and their solutions in response to draft plan of NPC, NPI chair Dhakal also recommended a new theme Build-Produce-Manage-Monitor (BPMM) for the consideration of NPC to adopt in the upcoming plan and vision.
Explaining about BPMM, he said that Build Physical Infrastructure and Improve Cross-Border Transport System with neighbours. "These are the major barriers to developing Nepal’s market into a competitive economy in the region and globe," he said, adding that private builders should be encouraged for investment in development of infrastructure. "Without industrialisation and manufacturing no nation can achieve economic prosperity and this is not likely without improved physical infrastructure, transportation convenience and ease in cross border trading," he added.
Likewise, he urged production of agricultural farm commodities to bridge the gap in supply shortages and food imports and to reduce higher prices. "This will ensure better choices for consumers with adequate supply at a reasonable cost contributing to market boost that would have a multiplier effect in the economy," he said, adding that the government should continue with long-term agriculture perspective plan vigorously and monitor implementation of the plan.
Similarly, Dhakal also suggested efficient management of Water Resources, including reforestation, soil conservation and expand solar energy. "It should be re-energised with new vigor in the plan," he said, adding that providing safe drinking water supply should remain on top agenda while building small water reservoirs by tapping on rain waters for both household and small-scale irrigation purposes also to be promoted.
NPC should be rebranded with clear mandate of authority for the effecting monitoring of the implementation of plan and measure the desired outcome of the plan and vision, recommended Dhakal, who is currently working as specialist at King Monkut’s University of Technology in Bangkok. Emphasising on the need of pragmatic policy with tangible outcome and powerful monitoring mechanism, he further stressed that without such mechanism in place, the next development plan otherwise will be merely an another plan to add in the list of past 14 plans.
Dhakal indicated that NPI’s final input including the comments from Bangkok interaction will be a good reference for NPC to consider for incorporation in the plan documents. NPI gives an angle on how Diaspora Nepali will see the development scenario rolling up in Nepal. The NPC has started meeting in Kathmandu from Wednesday to finalise the concept paper for the 15th periodic plan.
NPI research coordinator and economist Bishwa Nath Tiwari, on the occasion, conducted interaction on macro-economic sector including economic sector, social sector and cross-cutting issues, infrastructure sector, governance sector. They discussed on growth versus sustainability, green economy, human capital, double digit growth, national pride projects, graduation from LDC, health, women, investment, infrastructure, remittance, and tax related issues.
Chief guest of the program NPC vice chairman Dr Puspa Raj Kadel also responded to all the questions the diaspora raised. Appreciating the NPI for identifying problems and giving solutions too he committed to incorporate the comments and requested NPI to forward the consolidated input from the global consultation. He also asked NPI for regular input.
"NPI is conducting global consultations with Nepali professionals, migrant workers, students, different specific committees of NRNA for past 3 weeks," NPI EC member Ramesh Singh said, clarifying that NPI is an official entity of NRNA as enshrined in the constitution of NRNA. But it behaves as an autonomous global knowledge platform and think tank for Nepal and Nepali exceeding the normal scope of NRNA. He assured that NPI work will be evidence based and placed in public domain for any stakeholder to use with credit to NPI. Singh also added that collective and individual efforts were received from included professionals, migrant workers representatives, Nepali students based in North America, Europe, Australia, UK, Asia, Middle East and also Nepal-based retired professionals of international organisations.
A team led by Switzerland-based development expert Kedar Neupane had processed the inputs swiftly to prepare the first draft and NPI Team is working to give a final touch on the input producing final document.
Speaking in the programme, the joint secretary at the Foreign Ministry Bharat Raj Paudyal appreciated the initiative of NPI that provides multiangle perspectives from the global diaspora which would be a great asset to Nepal. Similarly, joint secretary at at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Ganesh Prasad Pandeya said that policies can never be perfect therefore continuous interaction with diaspora professional which NPI has already started should be continued to reform policies of the nation.
Thirty two experts from the diverse areas of expertise had attended the interaction program where Nepal’s ambassador to Thailand Khaga Nath Adhikari and NRNA Thailand President Assajita Awale welcomed the participants. NRNA Thailand vice president Bhabendra Basnet, treasurer Kanchha Gurung (Gabo), EC member Atish Shrestha, former general secretary Kedar Timalsina and other members took active part in the interaction. 

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