We should be concerned that the government has been slow to implement the 7 billion Small Development Projects grant provided by the Indian government. The SDP grant is part of the 10th Five Year Plan and is for:
implementing smaller, short-gestation and community-oriented projects in vital sectors of health, education, rural infrastructure (conference hall, farm roads, small bridges, etc), water supply, irrigation channels, Renewable Natural Resource (RNR) centres etc. It is expected that over 2000 such projects will be implemented all across 20 districts of Bhutan in five-years time.
Two years of the 10th Plan is already over. And yesterday, the finance minister told the National Assembly that, so far, the government has used only Nu 195 million of the SDP funds. That works out to about 2.3% of Nu 7 billion grant.
Almost 50% of the 10th Plan is over, and the government has implemented barely 2.3% of the total grant. So yes, we should be concerned – deeply concerned – at the government’s inability to deliver.
But we should be even more concerned at the government’s tardiness. Two years of the 10th Plan are over. And for the third year, the government is targeting only Nu 1,643 million of the SDP grant. So most of the SDP grant will be available for the final two years of the 10th Five Year Plan. And, most of that period will conveniently correspond to the eighteen months leading up to the 2013 general elections.