1. History of Planning in India:
i. 1935: National Planning Committee with Nehru as Chairman
ii. 1945: Birla Plan
iii. 1946: Planning Advisory Board
iv. 1950: Planning Commission with PM as Chairman
v. 1952: National Development Council
2. Planning Commission (1950):
A body created by recommendation of the cabinet with a view to frame plan for the entire country so as to bring about balanced growth. Its functions were:
i. To assess the material, capital and human resources of the country.
ii. To formulate plan for the most effective and balanced utilization of resources.
iii. To determine stages for the implementation of the plan.
iv. To determine priorities and allocation of resources.
v. To determine the nature of the machinery required for the implementation of the plan.
vi. To periodically appraise the progress achieved in each stage of the plan.
vii. To advise the centre and the state governments from time to time on special matters referred to it.
3. National Development Council (1952):
A body created by the resolution of Union Cabinet to ensure co-operation between states and the planning commission.
i. An extra constitutional, non-statutory body.
ii. Consists of PM as Chairman + all Union Ministers + CM’s of States + UT of Delhi’s CM + UT of Puducherry’s CM + administrators of UT + members of the Planning Commission.
iii. Described as super cabinet.
Its functions are
i. Prescribe guidelines for formulation of a National Plan
ii. Consider and Approve National Plan
iii. Review the working of Plan and recommend measures for improvement
iv. Prescribe guidelines for assessment of resources for the plans and their formulation
However it is an advisory consultative body. In view of its role, the Sarkaria Commission recommended change in its name, to be called ‘National Economic Development Council.’
4. Political Realities:
Indian Polity combines twin features of Parliamentary democracy with a federal system. Planning has to be operational zed within these features. However, there is bias towards the centre. Everything regarding development was concentrated in Part IV (DPSP).
India embarked on the path of development through a planned model of development. Automatically the administration was entrusted a big responsibility. But, history presents a very gloomy picture of this strategy.
If economic and social indicators are a point in this regards, India’s performance has not been satisfactory.
Whatever growth and development that the country has achieved, have been cornered and appropriated by or benefited 10% of the population. It has developed vested interests and created a vicious cycle.
In view of severe lacunae in the process of planning and administrative performance, India embarked on strategy of Liberalization.
The Government is contracting out of sectors hitherto taken care by it. It is opening up to market forces. Civil society and non-governmental organizations are to take care of social problems.
However it does not mean the irrelevance of planning in Indian context. The federal polity with wide regional disparity and surmounting problems demand retention of planning. Under this background following suggestions can be made
i. Co-operative involvement and participation of central, state and local governments.
ii. Backing of each national plan by an appropriate administrative plan.
iii. Strengthening the administrative machinery through special training, broadening social base of bureaucracy, regular exchange of personnel etc.
iv. Checking bureaucratic malpractices and maladministration through jurisdiction of Tribunals and legal enactments.
v. Strengthening grievance redressal mechanism.
vi. Including members from diverse discipline in the Planning Commission.
In sum up, it may be observed that despite optimism with the strategy of planning to transform the polity, India continues to be plagued by innumerable problems.
Since public administration has emerged as the dominant pipeline for the carrying out of the policies and programmes, its revealed deficiencies, shortcomings and inadequacies in this respect ought to be concern to all, more so to the planners themselves.
This is need of the hour. Otherwise the polity is reaching to a stage where it may blow the democratic edifice.