There has been an increasing realisation in recent years of the need to look carefully for an alternative paradigm of development. This realisation is based on increasing evidence that existing policies, programmes and priorities have failed to achieve the basic objective of meeting the basic needs of all people in a sustainable and harmonious way. The problem is not just one of inadequacies at implementation levels. While it is true that both inefficiency and corruption have created serious problems, at the same time it is increasingly realised that even better implementation of existing framework of development is unlikely to result in the achievement of basic needs for all on a sustainable basis in a harmonious way. In fact it is the inadequacy and/or unsuitability of the existing development policies which leads to alienation of people and this in turn leads to conditions in which inefficiency, apathy and irregularities can flourish.

This realisation has led to increasing (but on the whole still inadequate) search for alternative paradigms of development. At a very broad, international level this has taken the form of alternative paradigms which can reduce the threats of most serious global problems like climate change while providing sustainable livelihood to people. It is increasingly agreed that this is the perhaps the most urgent issue of our times. Yet progress on taking it forward is still quite slow due to a number of problems. Perhaps better progress can be made in preparing alternative development plans for smaller regions. While the need for this is mainly rooted in the continuing, in some cases accentuating problems of the people and environment of these regions, an additional reason to take this task forward at the current juncture for our planet is that any remarkable success in protecting environment and protecting livelihoods in conditions of social harmony can also yield lessons as well as inspiration for major global tasks which – it is now quite clear – can not be postponed much longer.

It is in this spirit that the task of development planning for any region or sub-region should be approached.