Backgrounder: Rural Development Bill

By The Ananda on January 10, 2019

What? Rural Development Bill is the first bill submitted by the government to the parliament in 2019. One of the stated purposes of the bill is “to promote cooperation and participation of local people in implementation of rural development undertakings”. Especially, it is aimed at enabling rural people to offer their own inputs in rural development tasks such as access to clean water, electrification and housing development. The government shall form a supervisory committee at the central government level and set up a fund for each village managed directly by the working committees of respective villages.

Why? There are two statements — “rural development” and “public participation”— mentioned in the bill’s purposes. According to a report released last December by the Joint Public Accounts Committee of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (combined house), government ministries which are responsible for rural development underperformed in previous fiscal year. It may imply that the current government mechanism dealing with rural development is not efficient.

In case of “public participation”, this bill tends to reflect the Action Plan 3.1.8 under Strategic Goal 3 “Job Creation and Private Sector-led Growth” of Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (2018-2030) launched by the government in August, 2018: “Enable and empower rural communities to initiate locally-generated, inclusive and consultative development initiatives”.

Alternatives? “The alternatives for “rural development” should feature improved efficiency of currently underperforming organizations and those for “public participation” should include wider public consultation for planning and budgeting. Write to us if you would like to share your opinions!

The bill text [in Burmese language] is available here.