The National Economic Council (NEC) on Tuesday (Sep 4) approved the much anticipated Delta Plan 2100 in a bid to tap the huge potentials of Bangladesh as a Delta country through water resources management, ensuring food and water security and tackling disasters. The approval came from the NEC meeting held at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area with NEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal said that the government would need $37 billion by 2030 for implementation of the Plan. The short term of the Plan will be implemented by 2030, the mid-term by 2050 while the long term by 2100, local media reports said.
State Minister for Finance and Planning M A Mannan, GED member of the Planning Commission Prof Dr Shamsul Alam and secretaries concerned were present at the briefing.
The Planning Minister said through the implementation of the Plan, the country could boost the GDP growth by another 1.5 percent by 2030.
He said today is a ‘Red Letter’ day for Bangladesh and also for the Planning Commission as such long-term nearly 100 year plan has been approved in the country for the first time.
Mustafa Kamal said based on the experiences of the Netherlands, PM Sheikh Hasina had earlier directed the authorities concerned to frame such plan to tap the maximum potentials of Bangladesh as a deltaic region.
He informed that the Netherlands have been benefitted largely through adopting such plan as that country had been able to reclaim around 6,000 square kilometers of land in addition to their mainland.
“We firmly believe that our most important resources is the water resources. If we could properly utilize these resources, then we will certainly not lag behind in agriculture and Bangladesh will grow much stronger economically,” he added.
Kamal also informed that work is underway to frame another perspective plan for the year 2021-2041 to transform the nation into a developed one.
At least 80 projects have been selected for implementation under the Plan. Of them, 65 would be infrastructure projects while 15 others would aim at enhancing institutional capacity, efficiency and research.
Member, GED of the Planning Commission Prof Dr Shamsul Alam said the Plan highlighted six hotspots including coastal areas (27,738 square kilometers), Barind and drought-prone region (22,848 square kilometers), haor and flash flood prone areas (16,574 square kilometers), CHT region (13,295 square kilometers), river region and estuaries (35,204 square kilometers) and urban region (19,823 square kilometers).
The General Economics Division (GED) has prepared the Plan with the assistance of the Dutch government and the World Bank.
A total of 26 studies were carried out by local experts and the plan was prepared in consultation with different stakeholders. It took three and a half years before the plan was approved.
According to a planning ministry document, the required fund for the 80 projects would come from the government, Green Climate Fund, development partners, foreign direct investment and the private sector.
At present, the government spends 0.8 percent of the GDP for Delta management projects and programmes. To implement the plan, 2.5 percent of the GDP would be required. Bangladesh is likely to get $2 billion assistance from Green Climate Fund every year.
Besides, about 0.5 percent from the private sector’s annual income could be added to the Delta Plan fund. Out of 2.5 percent of GDP required for implementation of the Plan, around 80 percent fund will come from the government sources while the rest of 20 percent from the private sector.
Coastal, Varendra (Barind) and drought-prone, haor and flood-prone, Chittagong Hill Tracts, riverine and urban are the six areas to be given priority by the Delta Plan.
Due to climate change, the country’s agricultural production may be seriously affected. The production of paddy and wheat may decrease by 17 percent and 61 percent.
About 70 percent areas in 16 districts, where poverty rate is very high, are most vulnerable to natural disasters, the document mentioned.
To execute the Delta Plan 2100, a high-level Delta Governance Council led by the prime minister would be formed. The planning minister would be its vice-president. The council would make decisions and give directives for implementing the plan.
Besides, a project or operations selection committee, led by GED member, would be constituted. The secretaries of the ministries related to the Delta Plan would be committee members, who would select projects and programmes. The committee would also monitor implementation of the projects and programmes.