NC members question finance minister if 13th FYP addresses regional development disparity

As the finance minister presented the 13th Five Year Plan in the National Council today, a few members of the house raised concerns regarding uneven developmental activities across different regions. The members questioned the minister if the government has considered uniform developmental activities in the 13th Five year Plan.

According to Eminent Member Phuntsho Rapten, uneven regional development is one of the leading causes of the current social issues including rural-urban migration and the rising number of Satong and Gungtong among others.

The finance minister acknowledged that the issue of uneven resource allocation has been existing since the first Five Year Plan. He added that major towns such as Thimphu have been receiving huge chunk of the resources and budget every Five Year Plan given the increasing population size and other factors the government considers in its resource allocation framework.

“When we do resource allocation, we tend to assign more for some region and less to others. And this, I acknowledge. But we put one or two standard division which will look after this. Some districts which has lack of budget like where the places have no roads will be taken care of separately. One thing is, in the 13th FYP this time, for the neighboring districts, we are planning to shorten the distance for the benefits of our economy. We are planning to build interconnectivity between districts,” said Finance Minister Lekey Dorji.

In the 13th FYP, the government has revised the resource allocation framework with three objectives. One of the objectives is to provide a structured framework for distributing resources to Local Governments in a fair manner to address development needs and local priorities.

As per the resource allocation formula, the resources are allocated considering seven criteria. The criteria include resident population, geographical area, poverty distribution, climate change vulnerability analysis index, GNH Index, unemployment distribution and transportation index.

In the 13th Five Year Plan, the government has allocated Nu 72bn for local governments. Of this, Nu 34bn will be allocated to Thromdes, districts, and gewogs as block grants based on the Resource Allocation Formula while Nu 38bn will be allocated for Project-tied Works in various districts.

Samten Dolkar

Edited by Phub Gyem

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