Planning Commission of India is an organization in the Government of India, which formulates India`s Five-Year Plans, among other functions. The planning commission was charged with the service of the opportunities to all for employment in the service of the community. The Planning Commission is reporting directly to the Prime Minister of India. It was established on 15 March 1950, with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the chairman. The Planning Commission does not derive its creation from either the Constitution or statute, but is an arm of the Central/Union Government.
The Planning Commission was set up by a Resolution of the Government of India in March 1950. The prime objectives of the Government was to promote a rapid rise in the standard of living of the people by efficient exploitation of the resources of the country, increasing production and offering opportunities to all, for employment in the service of the community. The Planning Commission was charged with the responsibility of making assessment of all resources of the country, augmenting deficient resources, formulating plans for the most effective and balanced utilisation of resources and determining priorities. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Chairman of the Planning Commission. Currently, Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, is the Chairman and Sh. Montek Singh Ahluwalia is the Deputy Chairman. Most of the experts in the Commission are mainly economists, who make the Commission, the biggest employer of the Indian Economic Services.
The first Five-year Plan was launched in 1951 and subsequent Five-year plans were formulated till 1965, when there was a break because of the Indo-Pakistan Conflict. Two successive years of drought, devaluation of the currency, a general rise in prices and erosion of resources disrupted the planning process and after Annual Plans between 1966 and 1969, the 4th Five-year plan was started in 1969. The 8th Plan could not take off in 1990 due to the fast changing political situation at the Centre and the years 1990-91 and 1991-92 were treated as Annual Plans. The 8th Plan was finally launched in 1992 after the initiation of structural adjustment policies. For the first 8 Plans, the emphasis was on a growing public sector with massive investments in basic and heavy industries, but since the launch of the 9th Plan in 1997, the emphasis on the public sector has become less pronounced and the current thinking on planning in the country, in general, is that it should increasingly be of an indicative nature.
Powers, Functions and Responsibilities
The 1950 resolution setting up the Planning Commission outlined its functions as to:
• Make an assessment of the material, capital and human resources of the country, including technical personnel, and investigate the possibilities of augmenting such of these resources as are found to be deficient in relation to the nation`s requirement;
• Formulate a Plan for the most effective and balanced utilization of country`s resources;
• On a determination of priorities, define the stages in which the Plan should be carried out and propose the allocation of resources for the due completion of each stage;
• Indicate the factors which are tending to retard economic development, and determine the conditions which, in view of the current social and political situation, should be established for the successful execution of the Plan
• Determine the nature of the machinery which will be necessary for securing the successful implementation of each stage of the Plan in all its aspects;
Appraise, from time to time, the progress achieved in the execution of each stage of the Plan and recommend the adjustments of policy and measures that such appraisal may show to be necessary; and Make such interim or ancillary recommendations as appear to take it to be appropriate either for facilitating the discharge of the duties assigned to it, or on a consideration of prevailing economic conditions, current policies, measures and development programme or on an examination of such specific problems as may be referred to it for advice by Central or State Governments.
Organization of the Planning Commission of India
The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Planning Commission, which works under the overall guidance of the National Development Council. The Deputy Chairman and the full time Members of the Commission, as a composite body, provide advice and guidance to the subject Divisions for the formulation of Five Year Plans, Annual Plans, State Plans, Monitoring Plan Programmes, Projects and Schemes..
The following points can be noted in context of the composition (membership) of the Planning Commission:
• The prime minister of India has been the chairman of the commission. He presides over the meetings of the commission.
• The commission has a deputy chairman.
• He is the de facto executive head (i.e., full-time functional head) of the commission. He is responsible for the formulation and submission of the draft Five-Year Plan to the Central cabinet. He is appointed by the Central cabinet for a fixed tenure and enjoys the rank of a cabinet minister. Though he is not a member of cabinet, he is invited to attend all its meeting (without a right to vote).
• Some Central ministers are appointed as a part-time members of the commission. In any case, the finance minister and planning minister are the ex-officio (by virtue of) members of the commission