The Achievements of Development Planning in SAARC Countries

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Learning Objective
To discuss the achievements of development planning in SAARC Countries

SAARC Countries have experienced several changes and improvements because of economic planning in the region. The region has completed more than five decades of economic planning. The South Asian economies have come a long way since the starting of planning in the 1950s. Some of the changes that planning has put forward for SAARC economies include increased production and productivity, structural changes in the economies, and so on.

Most of such changes are long-lasting and would help nations to get sustained economic escalation. The region has lifted so many people out of poverty, created collective social and economic capital, and encouraged countries to make themselves proficient in other foreign nations.  Some of the noteworthy achievements made by SAARC countries through development planning are shown in the following table.

Table: Achievements of Development Planning in SAARC Countries

CountryPlan Achievements
AfghanistanBy the 1970s plan had achieved only mixed results.  Afghanistan adopted a centrally planned economy until it followed the free market economy in 2002.  Since then it has achieved a significant improvement in poverty reduction, improved access to education, health facility, infrastructures, institutional capacity development, and human capital formation.
BangladeshOver the past 40 years since independence, Bangladesh has increased its real per capita income by more than 130 percent; cut poverty by more than half; achieve most of the MDGs within a given time; capable of handling natural disaster with minimum loss of life’s; improved access to education, better infrastructure, better institutional governance, and human capital development; improved capability to cope climate change.
BhutanOverall growth stimulated by investment in the hydropower sector; the construction sector has fast developed into a major economic sector; tourism interims of foreign exchange and job creation.
IndiaIndia achieved more progress in many sectors of the economy including the growth of agricultural and industrial production; rising and pushing middle classes and entrepreneurship; reforms and more pragmatic approach of planning; enhancement of private-public partnership; increase in the rate of saving and capital formation; remarkable progress in science and technology. 
MaldivesAble to handle disasters with minimum loss of life and wastage of resources; reduced poverty by a larger percentage; promotion of educational infrastructures.
NepalNepal has accepted and applied planning as an instrument of achieving national economic goals. Some of the major achievements that Nepal has gained through development planning are poverty reduction; initiation of balanced development; socio-economic equality; social justice; educational improvement; increasing expansion of socio-economic overhands; increasing access to transportation, communication, and energy; achievement of most of MDGs. 
PakistanPakistan has promoted the private sector and small, medium enterprises at a remarkable rate; rural-centric integrated development initiations; poverty reduction.
Sri LankaResolve the prolonged conflict; large infrastructural development consisting of electricity generation, ports, airports, water supply, irrigation, roads, communication, and transportation; strengthen public service, and state-owned enterprises.
The Achievements of Development Planning in SAARC Countries


SAARC Countries accepted planning as an instrument of fulfilling national development aspirations. Consequently, their systematic efforts for overall national development on a planned basis began in the 1950s. Since then all efforts were carried out under the framework of various periodic development plans. SAARC countries have followed two, three, and five year’s plans for the attainment of their national development goals. The region has achieved so many remarkable signs of progress to a varying degree in different countries through development planning.

However, countries and the region have not achieved as was expected and have been facing so many challenges or issues. The South Asian nations could achieve extraordinary progress if they will able to allocate their enormous resources efficiently and develop interconnectivity all over South Asian nations by eliminating all types of conflict and lack of trust between member countries like India and Pakistan. China a big Asian economy targeted SAARC countries for investment and thus SAARC could be a common platform to demand more sustainable alternatives for development and to demand better terms for the South Asian laborers around the globe.

The SAARC as a regional organization must be able to carry and reflect the South Asian identity of the countries, historically and contemporarily. The culture, heritage, and religious aspects of South Asia should be promoted based on regional packages and agenda for the mutual benefits of the courtiers from tourism and other types of attractions. All the member countries are initially responsible to take care of the agendas of the organization, their supervision, and reform that the member countries need to adopt for collective advancements.  

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