Plan outlay faring well despite the pandemic

12th Plan Capital Outlay will be reviewed and revised based on the implementation progress status and the resource mobilization position.

Tashi Namgyal/Thimphu

The capital outlay for Central Agencies is revised from Nu 50,000 million to Nu 56,233.82 million for the 12th Plan period. From the initial outlay of Nu 36,701 million to the revised outlay of Nu 41,581 million, the highest outlay was accorded for the ministries.

Autonomous Agencies followed suit with an increase of over Nu 1,700 million in the revised schedule.

Constitutional Bodies saw their outlay being slashed by around Nu50 million, revised down to Nu 1,568 million from the initial outlay of Nu 1,610 million.

Revision for Others like common public expenditures, subsidies to state-owned-enterprises (SoEs) stood unchanged at Nu 2,000 million.

By the end of the 12th Plan’s Mid-Term Review (MTR), these agencies collectively made expenditures amounting to over Nu 34,972 million. The chunk of expenses made was through the ministries.

The increase in capital allocation for central agencies is attributed to increase in plan outlay for the ministries by approximately Nu 4,879.61 million and Nu 1,708.83 million for Autonomous Agencies. The increase in outlay for ministries is mainly due to incorporation of COVID-19 response initiatives and frontloading of key economic activities such as ECP, and internal connectivity road and construction of dry ports, POL Depot etc.

The increase in outlay for autonomous agencies is mainly attributed to increase in outlay for JDWNRH, RUB, BICMA and Dratshang Lhentshog. The decrease in outlay for constitutional bodies is attributed to deferring the construction of courts and offices. Initially maintained separately, the HRD outlay of Nu 500 million is now reflected as part of RCSC’s outlay.

Assessing the Ministries

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) estimates that the average economic growth rate is likely to be around 2.3 % by the end of the plan period, compared to the Plan target of 6-7 % annual average economic growth. Similarly, other fiscal targets such as fiscal deficit as percent of GDP, Debt to GDP, non-hydro revenue growth rate and revenue from SOEs were reported as “at-risk”. The domestic revenue was projected to decline by about 18 % from Nu 217 billion to Nu 178 billion.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) implemented EiE guidelines for online education during COVID, introduced coding and ICT as a mandatory subject from PP-XII and launched Bhutan Professional Standards for Teachers. The Ministry is also replicating the Royal Academy curriculum in 2 schools and will be expanded to 20 schools in FY 2021-22. Regarding tertiary education, the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) reported that 73 lecturers are currently undergoing long-term training (49- Masters & 29-PhD). The progress of infrastructure development in eight colleges is affected by the shortage of construction workers.

In addition to combating COVID-19 and successfully conducting the vaccination drive, the Ministry of Health (MoH) carried out 1,176 eye surgeries and 402 ENT surgeries, established dialysis services in Wangdue hospital, expanded endoscopy services to 5 Dzongkhag hospitals and the Accelerating Mother and Child Policy was endorsed by the Government. The timely completion of construction of health infrastructures such as GJPMCH at Thimphu, 50 bedded Tabahospital, Tashichhoeling hospital at Samtse, 100 bedded National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Multi-Disciplinary Super Specialty Hospital and Mother and Child Hospital (MCH) at Mongar are at-risk.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) reported satisfactory progress with increased production (vegetable self-sufficiency at 88%, dairy self-sufficiency at 93 %, egg self-sufficiency at 100 %, and meat self-sufficiency at 45 %). Notably, in addition to the RNR sector’s contribution to enhancing production and rural livelihoods, in the context of the pandemic, the sector also ensured sufficient distribution of agriculture and livestock production during the lockdowns. The RNR sector also emphasized on food production during the pandemic.

Towards providing gainful engagement and employment for youth, the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) trained 2,560 individuals in 45 critical skills, and engaged 512 youths in livelihood programs. Under the BBP, 36 specialized construction firms were established, 633 youths economically displaced by the pandemic were engaged and 712 youth (512 males and 200 female) were skilled. The Ministry is also formulating the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) reform plan to be implemented from July 2021.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) reported progress in enhancing technology landscape through implementation of Digital Drukyul Flagship Program, which consists mainly of National Digital ID, Government Initiated Network, Digital School, Bhutan Integrated Taxation System for GST and e-PIS. The Ministry also reported on the ongoing initiatives to enhance the air transport infrastructure, including runway expansion of Gelephu airport, and surface transport mainly in promoting electric vehicles.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) reported progress in construction of dry ports at Pasakha, Gelephu and Nganglam, Eastern PoL Depot at Mongar and CSI Estate at Tsirang towards enhancing trade, export facilitation and business infrastructure development. The industrial parks at Dhamdum, Motanga and Jigmeling are ongoing with three industries operational and fourteen industries under construction.

The Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) reported that all planned projects in the roads and bridges sector are progressing well including the National Service Center roads, Gomtu-Tading road, and Samrang-Jomotshangkha road. With regard to preserving cultural heritage, the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs (MoHCA) reported that the capital activities such as rebuilding and construction of Dzongs, Monasteries and Lhakhangs are on-track. Specifically, WangditseGoenpa and Pemagatshel Dzong are completed.

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