Tashi Dema

An effective monitoring and evaluation process is what the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) should institute if it is to keep track of national development goals.

The Royal Audit Authority in its reported on the implementation of the 11th Plan, released on March 2, pointed this out.

RAA stated that GNHC is mandated to plan, coordinate and monitor the five-year plans and programmes to achieve national development objectives. They are also mandated to evaluate and assess impact of policies, plans, programmes and activities to check the progress towards the achievement of national development goals and targets.

The commission designed a national monitoring and evaluation system (NMES) to integrate systems like planning and monitoring system (PLaMS), multi-year rolling budget system (MYRB) and the public expenditure management system (PEMS) to provide real-time monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of 11th Plan programs and activities.

“However, it was rendered ineffective due to PlaMS being non-functional for the whole plan period,” the report stated. “As a result, GNHC had not carried out annual monitoring of planned activities.”

The process for system integration mentions that planning officers, programme and project managers of ministries, autonomous agencies, dzongkhags and gewogs use PlaMS to manage results-based Plan programmes, prepare annual work plans based on the approved Plans, and to track plan performance on a weekly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual basis.

According to the report, while GNHC had conducted mid-term review and published reports in 2016, it did not publish the revised plan documents but published the discussion notes along with approved changes in the targets. “Thus, it did not provide holistic information on the overall status of the Plan.”

RAA also pointed out that GNHC had not carried out final assessment of achievement of the Plan.

Although, the GNHC had published the terminal report based on information provided by agencies, it was observed that terminal report did not provide holistic review on the achievement of targets and it did not evaluate whether the intended objectives of the Plan were achieved.

“GNHC should institute an effective monitoring and evaluation process to provide information, indicating the extent to which objectives are being achieved, giving an early warning of potential problems, and of the possible need to make changes in the plan policy, programme or process to ensure success,” the report stated.

RAA also recommended GNHC and National Statistical Bureau (NSB) to strengthen data production for better reporting framework. It pointed out gaps in the data production and its published reports.

For example, the RAA could not establish achievement status for eight key performance indicators (KPIs) of the 61 KPIs for 16 national key result areas (NKRAs) and 120 KPIs of 500 for sectoral key result areas (SKRAs), as there was no data.

RAA also observed inconsistent documentation and reporting framework for the Plan documents. “The achievement reported in the terminal report of 11th Plan does not show corresponding achievement assessed against each NKRAs, SKRAs and DKRAs.”

That resulted in a lack of clarity on the achievement of each key result areas. “Similarly, the performance targets in the annual performance agreement were not derived or aligned to the KPIs of the five-year plan,” the report stated.

According to RAA, GNHC argued that the agency responsible for producing data is primarily NSB and relevant agencies and that GNHC is data-consuming agency.

RAA also recommended the government to have clear strategic directions through adequate research and rigorous consultative process engaging all stakeholders and formulate or design appropriate monitoring tools to ensure that agencies are implementing the programmes and activities aligning to the national goals and objective of development plans.