I. PLANS AND PLANNING PROCESS
H. Planning institutions and planning processes of the provincial government
The Planning and Development Departments/Boards are the provincial counterparts of the Planning Commission. In NWFP it is the Planning, Environment and Development Department.
At the provincial level, the Additional Chief Secretary has overall charge of the Planning, Environment and Development Department. He is assisted by the Chief Economist, the Secretary, Additional Secretaries and other section chiefs. Under the Planning, Environment and Development Department there are different sections headed by Additional Secretaries and section chiefs who liaise with sectoral departments. The functions of the Planning, Environment and Development Department are:
Each district in the province has a District Development Advisory Committee (DDAC) comprising representatives of the departments at the district level. The chairman of DDAC is elected by popular vote in the district as a member of the Provincial Assembly. In the middle of the year at each district headquarters the DDAC holds meetings with all heads of district line departments in order to identify projects and development schemes for the next ADP. Each department is required to identify projects (both ongoing and new) and complete a proforma PC-I for submission to the Planning, Environment and Development Department for the ADP by the end of December each year. The schemes are prepared by the field staff of the district line departments in consultation with the district MPAs. The schemes are scrutinized and given priorities and then sent through the Administrative Secretaries of the departments in the province to the Planning, Environment and Development Department for further processing. The Planning, Environment and Development Department holds meetings with the representative secretaries of the individual line departments also discuss the projects in all sectors for the next ADP. Based on those meetings a draft consolidated ADP is prepared for the province. Approximately 80 per cent of the funds are allocated for ongoing projects and the remaining 20 per cent for new schemes. The Chief Minister/Governor holds a meeting with the Planning, Environment and Development Department officials, Commissioners, and other heads/ secretaries of the line departments. Subsequently, the provincial ADP is approved and it is sent to the federal government for final approval.
The approval of the ADP is conveyed to all the line departments/implementing agencies in April each year. Following approval of the projects by the Provincial Development Working Party, the line departments/ implementing agencies prepare schemes for recruiting staff and initiating action. DDAC has the authority to approve projects up to PRs 100 million (although that limit changes from time to time). Projects with costs above that limit are sent to CDWP, ECNEC and then NEC. The resources are then released by the Finance Department for project implementation after 1 July each year.
Overall, the procedural framework of the Planning, Environment and Development Department, and particularly the coordination for organizing Provincial Development Working Party meetings, liaison with the federal government, sanctioning the release of funding and other matters related to the project cycle, are efficient and satisfactory. The problem area lies in the execution of proper monitoring and evaluation, and horizontal coordination. The line departments are responsible for project implementation. Once the departments have received approval for their projects and financial resources have been allocated, the Planning, Environment and Development Department does not have a very effective checking system. Although the line departments submit quarterly and annual reviews, the Planning, Environment and Development Department has yet to develop a viable system for effective on-site monitoring and evaluation. Therefore the provincial government needs to introduce ways and means of monitoring, evaluating and carrying out EIAs in order to make development planning more rational and effective. Monitoring and evaluation are essential to enabling lessons to be drawn for future project formulation and for making development more sustainable. In NWFP, the Planning, Environment and Development Department has established a special unit for strengthening its monitoring evaluation and other functions, but its performance is limited to organizing short courses of one or two weeks on subjects such as report writing, rules of business, basic computing and project cycles.
The whole planning process of the Planning, Environment and Development Department is related to the sanctioning of financial resources for ADP. ADP formulation and planning is directed by the political heads and other influential people. Public participation at large is not part of the planning process. The line departments do not follow the planning criteria or planning standards, which results in irrational and unsustainable planning. Each department pursues its tasks independently, without any coordination with the other departments. For example, the Communication and Works Department constructs roads without consulting other line departments to enable them to develop their own projects accordingly. Roads are built away from resources and human settlements. Schools and health facilities such as Basic Health Units are built away from population points. Line departments do not prepare long- or medium-term development plans. The result is delays in projects; for example, the Basic Health Units are constructed but water and electricity supplies and roads are provided, so they do not become operative for some time after completion.
At the same time, the planning offices are adversely affected by: (a) a lack of manpower and other resources for the planning offices; (b) a lack of institutional capacity as well as training in the principles of development planning, particularly at the regional/district level; (c) an inadequate data base for the identification and analysis of problems, and the determination of the resource base for the solution of those problems; and (d) a lack of understanding of new approaches and techniques such as geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and EIA among officials dealing with planning. The results are duplication of effort, wastage of resources and unsustainable development.