UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Mar 15

15 March 1950

Planning Commission formed


What happened?

The Planning Commission of India was formed on 15 March 1950. It formulated the Five-Year Plans of India. On 17 August 2014, it was dissolved and replaced by the NITI Aayog.

Planning Commission Background

In today’s ‘this day in history’, you can read about the Planning Commission, which although now scrapped, was an important element in India’s economics and polity. This is an important topic for the IAS exam.

  • The Planning Commission was a Government of India-institution and its main function was to formulate the country’s Five-Year Plans.
  • The Five-Year Plans were the plans crafted for the Indian economy. The idea was inspired by Joseph Stalin’s Five Year Plan in the USSR which was implemented in the late 1920s.
  • Even before independence, a National Planning Committee was established by Subhas Chandra Bose in 1938. He was convinced by scientist Meghnad Saha to set up one.
  • Initially, eminent engineer M Visvesvaraya was heading it. He was replaced by Jawaharlal Nehru after he stepped down.
  • The British government had also formed an Advisory Planning Board headed by K C Neogy. It functioned for two years from 1944 to 1946.
  • After independence, Nehru set up the Planning Commission in 1950 to formulate economic policies and bring about a welfare state.
  • The first Five Year Plan focused on agriculture more than industry, which was focused more in the second Five Year Plan. The thrust was on a mixed economy.

Planning Commission Details

  • The chairman of the Planning Commission was the Prime Minister ex-officio. The Deputy Chairman had the rank of a cabinet minister.
  • Other fulltime members were experts from various fields like economics, science, agriculture, industry, commerce, administration, etc.
  • Other members of the Commission also included ministers of finance, chemicals, home, agriculture, fertilizers, law, information technology, etc.
  • The Commission assessed the resources of the country, material, human and capital. Then, it generated policies for the balanced utilization of the resources.
  • It also evaluated the progress achieved and the changes needed in policy or mechanism for optimal growth of the economy and the country.
  • The Narendra Modi government in 2014 announced the decision to do away with the Planning Commission and replace it with the NITI Aayog which is a more robust institution and one that is more adaptable to change.
  • The 12th Five Year Plan was going on from 2012 to 2017.
  • The dissolution of the commission marked an end of a Nehruvian legacy.
Also on this day


1888: Start of the Anglo-Tibetan War. 2011: Start of the civil war in Syria.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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