What fuel is to fire, vital-statistics are-to development plans! And hence demographic and socio-economic data have acquired priority-status for Bhutan, especially since the 11th Five Year Plan is in the process to be refined and better monitor of performance of development indicators is high on agenda.
On this note, a recent workshop trained 14 Dzongkhag planning officers and gewog administrative officers to refine the 11th Five Year Plan. The training was based on derivation of information from statistical data and assessment of information collected by National Statistical Bureau (NSB) and other organizations.
“The main objective to conduct such program was to familiarize the Dzongkhag planners with different data sources in Bhutan,” said the Resource Person Jamyang Choda.
“11th FYP is yet to start and we are well equipped with all kind of demographic technical tools to build the capacity in data analysis,” said the Sarpang Dzongkhag Planning Officer (DPO) Ugyen Dorji.
In a decentralized government, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programs are important functions.
“To help evidence-based planning and monitoring on specific indicators that influence the outcome and goals, quality data is an essential ingredient,” said Jamyang Choda.
The training workshop also aims to derive development indicators especially Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in Bhutan from statistical data brought out by National Statistics Bureau of Bhutan and other organizations.
With passage of time many statistical tools have evolved and the scope of these tools have widened among different disciplines like academics, planning and management.
Jamyang Choda said the program would enhance capacity of planners to use statistical tools like Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) and EXCEL for planning and evaluation purpose.
Dagana DPO Sangay Phuntsho said the training was effective for the planners, as it taught them to use MS excel and SPSS, effective tools to compile and analyze data and other related aspects.
“These tools would help us transform the statistical data in less time,” he added.
In Bhutan, the information available on many development indicators is relatively poor. Reliable development indicators were to some extent available at national level only.
With decentralization of power, major social development programs of the government are now controlled by dzongkhag and gewog level functionaries, it is therefore important that these indicators be produced regularly even at these levels.
“The information available at the lowest level for regularly monitoring programs was inadequate; often based on intuitive thinking rather than on evidence,” said the Resource person Jamyang Choda.
Participants of the workshop said the previous plans were based on result-based management and the development plans were done as per the end-result of each development activity.
Resource person Jamyang Choda said the training is mostly conducted with hands-on practices and practical sessions on comparative studies conducted on Population and Housing Census Data.
He said in this manner the participants can calculate the dzongkhag growth rate and other indicators as per the data collected by Population and Housing Census Data.
The training program conducted by Center of Population studies is the first of it kind. The organizers will conduct programs related to population and development issues in a wider region in the future.
The three-day training program in College of Natural Resources (CNR) in Lobesa under Thimphu Dzongkhag was organized by Center for Population and Development Studies, Sherubtse College and funded by UNFPA, Bhutan.