Think tank formed to counsel governmentThe government has formed a five-member think tank to suggest it on various policy issues concerning economic, political, social and administrative reforms.
The government has formed a five-member think tank to suggest it on various policy issues concerning economic, political, social and administrative reforms.
A Cabinet meeting on Friday formed the think tank that would be officially named Policy Research Academy (Niti Anusandhan Pratisthan). Led by Prof Chaitanya Mishra, the panel has Mina Acharya, Prof Rajendra Dhwoj Joshi, Prof Surendra Labh and Ganesh Gurung, former member of the National Planning Commission, as members.
The decision is in line with the government’s policies and programmes for the current fiscal year.
“A think tank of experts will be arranged for to regularly recommend the government through study and research on development, construction, security, foreign relations, and good governance, among others,” states the policy paper.
The academy will function as a permanent body under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which could expand its organisation as required. According to Rajan Bhattarai, a member of the Nepal-India Eminent Persons Group, the academy will be the umbrella body that looks after all the issues including security and foreign policies.
“It will research core issues independently, in a critical approach from a national perspective at a time when major policy researches in the country are generally funded by foreigner research institutes,” said Bhattarai. “The issues related to national security, governance, economy, development, and social security will be the areas of the academy’s interest.”
The academy will develop relations with universities and other institutions to conduct independent researches and appoint senior researchers and fellows, according to Bhattarai.
“Even the government and the ministries can request the academy to conduct research in their areas,” he said.
According to PMO officials, the academy was formed based on the Policy Research Academy Development Committee Formation Order 2018. A separate Act will be drafted to govern it.
The government is preparing to house the academy at the Anamnagar-based new building of the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority. “The academy will function immediately, with all the necessary resources including budget in place,” said Bishnu Rimal, chief advisor to the prime minister.
Gurung, a member of the academy announced on Friday, said he was not aware of the details except for their appointment as the government had not given them the terms of reference.
The talk of forming the think tank is not new. Around six years ago, then-prime minister Baburam Bhattarai had announced a plan to set up three separate think tanks related to security, strategic and foreign policy affairs. However, the plan did not materialise.
The Cabinet meeting also formed a 25-member Industry Commerce Promotion Dialogue Council led by the prime minister with an aim to improve the business climate in the country. The council will have nine ex-officio
members including the ministers for finance, tourism and industry besides reputed industrialists and businessmen.
The Bhattarai-led government had also formed the PM Economic Advisory Council comprising economists and representatives of the private sector.