III. INTEGRATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO DECISION- MAKING FOR FLOOD LOSS REDUCTION
C. Integration at the national level
1. Five-year planThe Planning Commission of the Government of Bangladesh draws up five-year plans providing guidelines for all development sectors including water resources sectors. The first five- year plan (1973-78) was formulated in 1973 and the fourth five-year plan (1990-95) was formulated in 1990. The plans have two important components; the macro-economic framework and the sectoral framework that sets the sectoral targets and policies.
Formulation of the plan: The formulation process of the plan is shown in Figure 14. The concept of system planning has not yet taken root in Bangladesh. By the very nature of its organization, government consists of a number of ministries and agencies under their control with allocation of specific functions. Under these arrangements, goals are shaped by narrow departmental needs. The BWDB planning has been primarily project-oriented, heavily influenced by external funding with little concern for the priorities of other related agencies. Similarly, other agencies have forcefully pursued their needs, sometimes ignoring the effects of these activities on flood control and drainage. The indiscriminate construction of rural roads under the Food for Work Programme and the many schemes implemented by the Bangladesh Railways or the Department of Roads and Highways are cases in point. The BWDB has also been accused of neglecting the needs of fisheries development, environmental preservation and navigational facilities while executing its own projects (UNDP, 1989).
Objectives: The national objectives as set forth in the fourth five-year plan are:
- growth in national income
- increased self reliance, and
- poverty alleviation and employment generation.
The national objectives provide the basis for evaluating alternative policies for the water sector.
Sectoral allocations: The major considerations that underline the sectoral allocations in five-year plans are: first, development of the rural economy with emphasis on raising productivity in agriculture and expansion of employment opportunities; second, to provide basic needs; third, to intensify multi-sectoral population control and family-planning programmes; and lastly to maintain inter-sectoral balances in investment.
The major objective for the agriculture sector in all five-year plans is centered on attaining self-sufficiency in food grain production. Planned utilization and efficient management of water resources have been considered as one of the most crucial elements for achieving desired changes in agricultural production and productivity. Against this backdrop, the water resources sector (irrigation and flood control) has always enjoyed priority in sectoral allocations. In the fourth five-year plan, the water resources sector was allocated 11 per cent of the total public sector outlay just behind the transportation sector (15.29 per cent) and energy (20 per cent) and ahead of agriculture (6.7 per cent), industry (4.85 per cent), education (7.66 per cent), health (3.05 per cent), and population and family control (4.61 per cent).
Strategy, targets and policies: The strategy of the fourth five-year plan in the water resources sector was, along with rapid minor irrigation development, improved effectiveness of FCD schemes in their crucial complementary role to minor irrigation. In order to achieve the objectives of the agriculture sector for a sustained annual growth rate of 3.6 per cent, the plan set a target of bringing 4.8 million ha of land under irrigation by 1995 from 3.1 million ha in 1990. The FCD coverage was targeted at 3.64 million ha by 1995 from 3.24 million ha in 1990. The rationale for setting these targets is, however, not apparent from the planning document.
The major policies set forth in the plan regarding water control and drainage include:
2. introducing a comprehensive analysis of FCD/FCDI projects with social costs and full accounting of externalities and linkages, and improving the quality and implementation speed of schemes in order to provide stipulated modification of land/water environment according to the planned schedule.