Nepal regional strategy for development

Type Working Paper
Title Nepal regional strategy for development
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
URL regional strategy for​development.pdf?sequence=1
The first attempt to incorporate spatial dimension in Nepal’s planning envisaged a series of
north-south growth axes (development corridors) linking diverse natural regions. Four growth axes
were outlined that offered the greatest prospect for integration and coordination of development as
they represented both the east-west and north-south territorial dimensions of the country. The
main reasoning behind the development of growth axes was to tie-in the economy of the tarai with
those of the hill. The best way to integrate the national economy is to establish the nature and
scope of complimentarity of northern and southern parts of the growth axis in terms of circulation
in trade, labor and capital.
The above regional strategy was partly adopted in the Fourth Plan, covering fiscal year
(FY)1970–FY75 and much discussed as a new dimension in Nepal’s development. Such a regional
approach was formalized with the creation of four development regions in 1972. Three elements
contributed to the distortion of this regional strategy. First, the practice of giving sanctity to the
formal development regions for programming led to emphasis on balance among four regions
rather than reducing imbalance among their elevation zones (mountain, hill, and tarai). Regional
strategy was interpreted as a wholesale dispersal instead of judicious aggregation of projects.
The second element that contributed to the derailment of regional strategy was the overemphasis
given to the Small Area Development Programme; initially proposed as a rural development adjunct
to the overall design of growth axes, it was elevated to the main component of regional approach.
The third element that led to the distortion in regional strategy was the expansion of various integrated
rural development projects whose basic rural conceptualization, diversity in approach, and lack of
transport component made them less effective in total impact. Thereafter, regional strategy was
superseded by succession of new concerns such as basic needs approach, environment protection,
and poverty reduction.
There is increasing disparity among development regions and their sub regional components.
This is due both to the region’s intrinsic locational factor and a development approach that favors
accessible ones. Of the country’s total road length of 13,223 kilometers, the Central Development
Region leads with a share of 39.1%. Mountain sub regions of the Mid Western and the Western
Development Region, covering 27,170 km2
, do not have any roads. The Central Region leads with
more than half of the total hydropower generation. There is no such infrastructure in the tarai sub
regions of the Far Western and the Mid Western Regions.

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