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Scrapping of the Planning Commission- Discuss

With the development of Constitution there were several constitutional bodies which established. Constitutional body is one whose functions are mentioned in the Constitution, for any change in their functionalities Constitutional amendment is required with special majority Eg, Finance Commission. Such bodies are integral part of our Constitution.

Apart from these Constitutional bodies, a need was raised to make some non-constitutional bodies, which can be easily modified as time and situation demands. One such body is Planning Commission, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister. Planning commission was established in 1950 with the aim of mirroring the strategies and development ideas of government, for raising the living standard of citizens in various aspects.

Relevance of Planning Commission
Planning Commission works in three stages: first drafting of plans, then implementation of those plans, and the last one is to evaluate and analyze the impact of those plans. Till now 11 five year plans have been executed with various goals. This is the time for 12th FYP (2012-2017). The aim of 12th FYP is faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth. Five year plan provides time bound execution of government policies, which makes it more productive. The importance of FYP can be judged from historical evidences. It is being implemented since 1950, and no government has ever dared to think of policy formulations without this commission. This has become an integral part of Government functionaries.

Old wine in new bottle
The drafting approach for 12th FYP (2012-2017) is more or less plagiarized from its previous versions. Its aim is faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth. The growth in the areas of health, education, life expectancy, morality rate, employment, industrial development, environmental issues etc. are parameters of faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth. These areas have already played a significant role in previous FYPs. Government has given these parameters, a place in previous plans. Hence the draft of 12th FYP can be considered as gist of previous 11 five year plans in a new structure. The five year plans draft should also include new areas as well, for eg corruption, female security, male security against false claims etc. It's a high time for need of a new wine instead of old wine in new bottle.

Only thing Constant is, Change
Planning has its relevance at present scenario also, but not in the way as it was practiced many years ago. It requires more critical thinking and strong analyses which can meet present demands. Fifty years ago planning was necessary not only to achieve distributional objectives but also to achieve a high rate of growth. That was the time of making foundation of our existence. Indian planning follows socialistic economy approach. It's a high time for planning in various new areas which people are demanding for. We should start thinking in new prospects instead of following previous ones blind-folded. Change is continuum everywhere and at all times. It is required whenever old system is not able to fulfill requirement as per expectations.

If not, Planning Commission, then what?
Now the question arises, if planning commission is scrapped then what will be the process of planning and under which organization? It is being recognized that the new institution will be set up on public-private partnerships (PPP model). The resources will be utilized optimally, state governments will be directed and it will be a sort of organization that will make our federal system stronger than ever.

It is evident that, for proper functioning of any governance, adequate planning is mandatory. Planning is the first step of good governance. It is an ongoing process. India is a multicultural, multi-ethical and multi-religious country. Experts believe that India needs an institution that can define the strategies and provide a clear cut image of the country. Government must lay down a strategy and formulate a path to tackle the fundamental problems of the country instead of making five years plans.

Whether it is the Planning Commission or any other institution, objective should be to develop India. It should be free from political interference. Instead of scrapping it, more professionals and experts can be added and the Planning Commission must be freed from any political influence.

Ruchika Chaudhary

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