Need for a Long-term, Integrated and Cross-Sectorial Policy Planning

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”.
Alan Lakein

Most of the developing countries have a great dilemma, which is anticipatory-policy making issue. They do not have any proper institutionalize, procedural framework to formulate policies at higher level as well as at lower level. They are customary to devise policies at immediate basis, without examining the long-term repercussion and fallout of them. Resultantly, they confronted with various socio-economic and political implications. A short-term, haphazard policy without proper prioritization of goals is only wastage of national resources and budget of a country. Budget and resource allocation without long-term policy planning is like going on a road trip without having the map. It is synonymous to willingly get lost.

Pakistan is also stuck off with such type of issue. In Pakistan, there is absence of long-term public and national policies owing to political instability, disparities among political parties, and distance among different decision-making bodies. Policies are formulized by some individual sectors without involving the personnel from the each sector of the society. This unprofessional way of formulating policies have unproductive outcomes. When policies do not formulate and implement through an ordered way, then it will not continue for a longer period of time. They would have to confront with immediate opposition. Formulation of policies by any government n the basis of individual or self-interest at the cost of national interest brings a country at the brink of devastation.

Long-term planning is a prerequisite to success. Having a clear sense of your direction and goals, your existing resources and budget will allow you to reap out your expected results and goals in specified period of time. Developed countries and welfare-states made policies for the sake of human welfare and human security. Mostly they plan and invest in long-term projects, which will prove beneficial for their coming generations.

Pakistan is a secessionist country. From the very first day of independence, its national security and sovereignty remain at stake. Unfortunately, marshal rule and military government, one after the other exploit the country in a worst way. Previous (Zardari) government was the first ever democratic government, who successfully complete duration of five years. But still, Pakistan is not as such mature to plan and prioritize its national interests properly. Here is the need of integrated, cross-sectorial and long-term policy planning. Policies should be planned through a systematic and integrated way, taking into account the interconnectedness of the economic, social, and environmental aspects of development, as well as country and sector-specific issues. This put down the base for inclusive long-term, evidence-based policy planning. In this way sustainable and prolonged development could be possible. By evaluating the availability and adequacy of natural resources, policymakers would better able to bring natural resource consumption and production patterns into balance with a country’s natural resource base.

If this matter would not get attention, thus Pakistan will remain indulge in wasting its resources on unnecessary projects. Those projects will remain failing due to higher intensity of opposition and less public acceptance.  We have example of Metro bus project and Kalabagh dam. Metro bus project is really a good enough to provide transportation ease to the people, but that was a luxury not a necessity. If cost-benefit analysis carryout thus it would be clear that Pakistan was in immense need of a dam as an agrarian country. Every year Pakistan faces the issue of flood. Resultantly, Pakistan has to pays a huge economic, social and political amount. Socio-economically Pakistan goes back to such extent where it does not reach in five or ten year. Now Pakistan is going to work on China Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC), which is being considered very beneficial for wellbeing of the country. But the successful implementation of that project is also attached with the proper decision making, honesty of political elite and full public support. Otherwise the CPEC will also become the matter of controversy.

The writer holds a Masters degree in Defence & Strategic Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and currently working as Researcher at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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