The periodic plan of Province 1 aims to raise its per capita income to $1,620 within the next five years. According to the first periodic plan that the Provincial Planning Commission has made public, the targeted per capita income equals Rs 184,680. The province’s per capita income now is $1,062. Vice president of the Provincial Planning Commission, Subodh Raj Pyakurel, says that the province also aims to raise its Human Development Index from 0.523 to 0.600 in the next five fiscals. “We have introduced the periodic plan with the main slogan ‘clean, happy and prosperous province’. All our targets are realistic,” he adds.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the province is Rs 550.29 billion at present. Pyakurel says that the target is to increase it to Rs 803.05 billion in the next five years. To this end, the province aims to increase the current economic growth rate of 8.7 percent to 10.4 percent. Currently, the contribution of the manufacturing sector to province’s GDP is 20 percent, which the periodic plan aims to increase to 24 percent. As many as 200,000 jobs are expected to be created in the process.
Purna Loksom, a member of the Provincial Planning Commission, says other targets for the next five years are to increase the literacy rate from 84 percent to 99 percent and the average life expectancy from 70 years to 73 years.
The provincial periodic plan is formulated on the basis of national plans, policies and programs; Province 1 has focused on reducing income inequality and boosting the literacy rate and economic growth.
Loksom adds that the main objective of the plan is to lay the foundation of advanced human resource development and an equitable society by improving the quality of education, health and social security, and to promote good governance of forests, environment, reservoirs and biodiversity by adapting to climatic shifts. He further says that despite the delay in passing the plan and making it public, its policies and programs have already been incorporated into the current fiscal’s budget.
Targets under the infrastructure sector include blacktopping 5,000 km of roads and ensuring everyone in the province has access to electricity. Currently, only 1,544 km of roads in Province 1 are blacktopped.
The province produces 121 megawatts of electricity, whereas demand stands at 240 megawatts. The Planning Commission says the province aims to generate 1,500 megawatts of electricity in the next five years and sell it elsewhere.
Chief Minister of Province 1, Sher Dhan Rai, says that only Gandaki Province has so far passed a periodic plan and Province 3 has only prepared a baseline report. He claims that although there has been some delay, Province 1 will be number one in terms of executing the plan. “The provincial government will work on the plan’s framework. And it will make sure it is effectively implemented and its targets attained,” says Rai