NPC panel to standardise national pride project selection processThe National Planning Commission, the apex body that frames country’s development plans and policies, on Monday formed a committee to standardise the process of selecting national pride projects considered vital for the overall development of the country.
The National Planning Commission, the apex body that frames country’s development plans and policies, on Monday formed a committee to standardise the process of selecting national pride projects considered vital for the overall development of the country.
The committee formed under NPC Member Swarnim Wagle comprises officials of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Finance and the
NPC. More members can be added to the committee based on need, according to NPC Spokesperson Khom Raj Koirala.
The committee has been given a deadline of two months to submit a report, said Koirala.
The NPC formed the committee as per the instruction given by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal during the 38th meeting of the National Development Action Committee held last week.
The concept of ‘national pride project’ was first introduced in 2012 in a bid to
expedite construction of schemes considered crucial for the country’s sustained development.
Since then, 21 projects have been categorised as ‘national pride’. They include four irrigation projects, three hydropower projects, three international airports, six roads projects, an electric railway project, a drinking water project, two projects aimed at promoting holy sites of Pashupati and Lumbini, and an environment conservation project.
Development of all these projects, according to experts, could completely change
the face of the country and help Nepal gear up for higher trajectory of economic growth.Yet, the government, till date, has not framed any clear-cut criteria for selection of national pride projects. As a result, the label of ‘national pride’ is being put on schemes through Cabinet decisions, which, many say, is an ad-hoc process.
“The committee formed today will come up with clear-cut criteria on selection of national pride projects,” said Koirala. “It will also come up with a list of concessions that could be extended to such projects to facilitate their implementation.”
The government hopes that special benefits accorded to national pride projects will expedite their construction, as overall progress of national pride projects has remained unsatisfactory.
In the first four months of the current fiscal year, over half of national pride projects failed to meet 50 percent of the performance target, shows the latest NPC report.
Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track Project, for instance, met only 0.1 percent each of physical and financial targets, making it the worst performer in the first four months of the current fiscal year.
Next in the list of worst performing projects was 1200-megawatt Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project, which met 1.1 percent each of physical and financial targets.
Another worst performing project was Lumbini Area Development Trust, which met 7 percent of physical target and 10 percent of financial target.
Some of the common problems faced by these projects are delay in land acquisition, dispute between project officials and locals over compensation proposed by the government, unclear relocation and resettlement strategy, lack of coordination among officials, and protests launched by staff members.