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Planning commission and national development council

RAS/RTS Prelims and Mains Exam Preparation

Planning commission and national development council

Planning commission

The Planning Commission was an institution in the Government of India, which formulated India’s Five-Year Plans, among other functions.

Background

Rudimentary economic planning, deriving from the sovereign authority of the state, was first initiated in India in 1938 by Congress President and Indian National Army supreme leader Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who had been persuaded by Meghnad Saha to set up a National Planning Committee. M. Visvesvaraya had been elected head of the Planning Committee. Meghnad Saha approached the great engineer and requested him to step down. He argued that planning needed a reciprocity between science and politics. M. Visvesvaraya generously agreed and Jawaharlal Nehru was made head of the National Planning Committee.The so-called “British Raj” also formally established a planning board that functioned from 1944 to 1946. Industrialists and economists independently formulated at least three development plans in 2012. Some scholars have argued that the introduction of planning as an instrument was intended to transcend the ideological divisions between Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru. Other scholars have argued that the Planning Commission, as a central agency in the context of plural democracy in India, needs to carry out more functions than rudimentary economic planning.

After India achieved Independence, a formal model of planning was adopted, and accordingly the Planning Commission, reporting directly to the Prime Minister of India, was established on 15 March 1950, with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the Chairman. Authority for creation of the Planning Commission was not derived from the Constitution of India or statute; it is an arm of the Central Government of India.

Composition of commission

The composition of the Commission underwent considerable changes since its initiation. With the Prime Minister as the ex officio Chairman, the committee had a nominated Deputy Chairman, with the rank of a full Cabinet Minister. Cabinet Ministers with certain important portfolios acted as ex officio members of the Commission, while the full-time members were experts in various fields like economics, industry, science and general administration.  Ex officio members of the Commission included the Finance Minister, Agriculture Minister, Home Minister, Health Minister, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister, Information Technology Minister, Law Minister, Human Resource Development Minister and Minister of State for Planning.

The Commission worked through its various divisions, of which there were two kinds:

  • General Planning Divisions
  • Programme Administration Divisions

Functions

  • To make an assessment of the material, capital and human resources of the country, including technical personal, and investigate the possibilities of augmenting those are related resources which are found to be deficient in relation to the nation’s requirement.
  • To formulate a plan for the most effective and balanced utilisation of country’s resources.
  • To define the stages, on the basis of priority, in which the plan should be carried out and propose the allocation of resources for the due completion of each stage.
  • To indicate the factors that tend to retard economic development.
  • To determine the conditions which need to be established for the successful execution of the plan within the incumbent socio-political situation of the country.
  • To determine the nature of the machinery required for securing the successful implementation of each stage of the plan in all its aspects.
  • To appraise from time to time the progress achieved in the execution of each stage of the plan and also recommend the adjustments of policy and measures which are deemed important vis-a-vis a successful implementation of the plan.
  • To make necessary recommendations from time to time regarding those things which are deemed necessary for facilitating the execution of these functions. Such recommendations can be related to the prevailing economic conditions, current policies, measures or development programmes. They can even be given out in response to some specific problems referred to the commission by the central or the state governments.

In his first Independence Day speech in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his intention to dissolve the Planning Commission. It has since been replaced by a new institution named NITI Aayog.

National development council

The National Development Council (NDC) or the Rashtriya Vikas Parishad is the apex body for decision making and deliberations on development matters in India, presided over by the Prime Minister. It was set up on 6 August 1952 to strengthen and mobilize the effort and resources of the nation in support of the Plan, to promote common economic policies in all vital spheres, and to ensure the balanced and rapid development of all parts of the country. The Council comprises the Prime Minister, the Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers of all States or their substitutes, representatives of the Union Territories and the members of the NITI Aayog.  It is an extra-constitutional and non-statutory body.

Objectives

  • To secure cooperation of the states in the execution of the plan.
  • To strengthen and mobilize the effort and resources of the nation in support of the Plan.
  • To promote common economic policies in all vital spheres.
  • To ensure the balanced and rapid development of all parts of the country.

Functions

  • To prescribe guidelines for the formulation of the National Plan, including the assessment of resources for the Plan.
  • To consider the National Plan as formulated by the NITI Aayog.
  • To make an assessment of the resources that are required for implementing the Plan and to suggest measures for augmenting them.
  • To consider important questions of social and economic policy affecting national development; and to review the working of the Plan from time to time.
  • To recommend such measures as are necessary for achieving the aims and targets set out in the National Plan.
  • To recommend measures for achievement of the aims and targets set out in the national Plan.
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