NPC to have fewer core members

  • restructuring of npc
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Feb 11, 2015-

The National Planning Commission (NPC), once revamped, will have fewer members in its core team. A panel formed to restructure the country’s supreme planning body has proposed reducing the number of core team members to five from the current seven, while increasing the number of ex-officio members.

The panel, led by NPC member Govinda Nepal, has suggested inclusion of the central bank governor as ex-officio member. The NPC team includes 10 individuals -- from the Prime Minister as chairman to the NPC secretary as member secretary to the NPC secretariat. It also includes the Chief Secretary and the Finance Secretary as ex-officio members.

With the country heading towards a federal set up, the panel has also suggested incorporating chiefs of state-level planning commissions, if formed, at the NPC as ex-officio members.

Nepal said given the monetary policy is indispensible in the planning process, the panel proposed having the governor at the NPC. It has also proposed maintaining 33 percent women representation. Nepal said given the women accounting for half of the country’s population, their representation in the planning body is a must.

He said the panel found the current structure of the Prime Minister leading the NPC as its chairman “okay”, proposed giving higher status to the vice-chairman and members.

It has proposed giving a minister’s status to the vice-chairman and state minister’s status to the members. Currently, the vice-chairman enjoys state minister’s status.

Currently, there is a tradition of changing the NPC leadership whenever the government changes, but the Nepal-led team has proposed appointments for five years to stop instability.

However, former vice-chairmen and members opposed the idea on the ground that the Prime Minister should be allowed to keep his/her own team to implement hi/her agenda, said Nepal.

Even incumbent Vice-chairman Govinda Raj Pokharel is opposed to giving a five-year permanent tenure to the NPC team. “I have a strong view the NPC team should change when the Prime Minister changes so that s/he will be able implement his/her development vision,” he said.

With the NPC currently being engaged in more administrative tasks, the team has envisioned to makign the planning body more research-oriented think-tank. For this, the panel has proposed an academic qualification of at least PhD and 15-year work experience for the vice-chairman and members.

“Although some may claim that PhD might not be the yardstick, but there should be certain criteria for the appointment to enable the NPC to function as a think-tank,” Nepal said.

The secretariat, which will be led by the NPC secretary, would be restructured in such a way that only civil servants from the “Economic Plan Group” will work there. The current law has envisioned the creation of the “Economic Plan Group”, but it has not been activated yet, according to Nepal.

“We have proposed reactivating this provision so human resources having expertise in planning could be employed within the NPC and elsewhere in the planning process,” said Nepal.

As per the plan, NPC will be allowed to hire experts from outside on a contract basis. “We have also proposed a provision that such experts will work with government officials on a day-to-day basis so that they understand and cooperate with each other,” said Nepal.

He complained there is a tradition of consultants not assimilating with government officials, making it impossible to implement recommendations made by the consultants. Such experts, however, will be proposed to be taken from a roster of experts maintained by the NPC.

In line with the India government’s announcement of restructuring their planning body, the Nepal government also initiated the process.

With the southern neighbour already federal country, the NPC plans to visit India soon to understand the structure and function the planning body there.

“After visiting India, we will adjust suitable provisions of India’s planning process

in our restructuring plan,” said Nepal. “We will hold workshop with stakeholders and planned to finalise the plan within the next two months.”

Published: 12-02-2015 09:43

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