The latest draft of the 12th Five Year plan has the 5 year plan at a whopping Nu 322 bn well above the current Nu 217 bn 11th plan.
A major feature of the plan is that unlike the almost equal balance between capital and current expenditure in the current plan there is a much higher current expenditure in the 12th plan.
Capital expenditure relates to mainly construction activities that create a new asset while current expenditure is in terms of maintenance, repairs, salaries etc.
While in the 11th plan the capital expenditure is Nu 109 bn and current is Nu 105 bn, in the 12th plan it is proposed to be Nu 115 bn for capital and Nu 185 bn for current expenditure.
A Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) official said that from henceforth the five year plans would almost witness a doubling of current expenditure because of the increasing need of maintenance of the capital infrastructure built in the past. This could be highways, farm roads, hospitals, schools etc.
He said that in developed countries with the less need for capital expenditure the current expenditure would be as high as 90 percent of the budget.
Talking of development the 12th plan also show’s Bhutan is gradually achieving self sufficiency as a large portion of the plan amount is projected to come from internal revenue.
Of Nu 317 bn plan domestic revenue will cover Nu 263 bn of the total plan.
By comparison in the current 11th plan of the Nu 217 bn only Nu 128 bn was available from domestic revenue.
There are two reasons for the change.
One is that the 12th plan will see the commissioning of various hydro projects like Punatsangchu I, Mangdechu and Punatsangchu II which will generate a lot of revenue especially given that they are all Inter-Governmental projects.
The other reason is that as Bhutan develops a number of donors are pulling out or are in the process of pulling out. This means fewer grants. DANIDA and the Netherlands have left while the Swiss, Austria and World Food Program are phasing out too.
In the smaller 11th plan the grants component was Nu 68 bn but in the much bigger 12th plan the grant component is Nu 54 bn only,
However, here the GNHC official said that all grant figures are tentative right now and could change based on the commitment of the donors of which the largest are India, European Union and Japan.
The official said that the 12th plan is currently in the process of formulation and only once it is finalized it will be presented to the donors for discussion.
Before that, the cabinet will take the final call on the nature, size and scope of the plan after it is discussed with all stakeholders and agencies including the local government.
Currently GNHC is still accepting comments and suggestions from the public who can mail their suggestions to email@example.com .
The plan like past plans will be guided by the philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) however unlike the past where only the four pillars were taken into account the plan for the first time will use the nine domains to guide the plan.
The official said that resource distribution between the four pillars was more difficult in the past and so using the nine domains would be better.
The nine domains have also been aligned to the 16 proposed National Key Result Areas (NKRAS) of the results that the plan should bring.
The NKRA (see box) is very important as it lays out the national focus of the 12th plan.