In the 1950s, India was a capital starved country that its leaders felt needed a body that could “rationally” allocate scarce resources. The Planning Commission was evolved as the entity that would be free from the burden of day-to-day administration and yet be in constant touch with the government. To cement this symbiotic relationship between the two key entities, the chairman of the Planning Commission was the prime minister and the deputy chairman was a permanent invitee to cabinet meetings. Originally, the Planning Commission too was expected to be a think-tank. But within some years, prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru observed that the Commission had become another government department complete with a bunch of secretaries.
Why the Planning Commission should go
1. India is now quite a different country now from what it was two decades ago. It was more decentralized, both politically and administratively.
2. Post-1991, the private sector had become perhaps the most significant force in the economy, and was now an important participant in even areas which had for decades been solely the government’s domain, such as infrastructure—from telecom to power to roads and civil aviation.
3. The Indian economy is far more strongly connected now with the global economy.
A. Planning commission Vs. Finance Commission:
B. Planning commission Vs. NDC: Right now, NDC is bereft of such advice and whatever inputs the Planning Commission gives it are taken with a pinch of salt. In effect, NDC is an organ where “grievances” against the Planning Commission are aired, openly.
C. Planning commission Vs. Finance Ministry: clashes between the finance ministry and the Planning Commission were common, though they did not often become public. The Planning Commission deputy chairman saw his role as thinking big, and usually that demanded a lot of money to be invested by the government. The finance minister saw his primary task as keeping expenditures and the fiscal deficit down.
D. Planning commission Vs. State Governments: : State govt. had to urge to the planning commision for allocation of funds.If the central ministries can deal directly with the state governments without going through the bottleneck of the Planning Commission. This will certainly streamline governance and bring more accountability into the whole process.
Where did the P.C. failed?
1. Growth in last decade - It also failed to read the nature of employment challenge that accompanied the high-growth years of the first UPA.
2. Jobless growth - Not only did it fail to recognize jobless growth but also failed to respond to the employment challenge. The state has no viable plan to resolve the problem of unemployment.
3. Poverty and Health Problems - No less than 27 per cent of Indians are below the poverty line. The BPL is flexibly drawn which addresses merely people’s existential condition; health facilities still remain a distant dream for the majority of Indians.
Independent Evaluation office: (IEO) was formally launched in February 2014, attached to the Planning Commission, under a governing board chaired by the commission’s deputy chairman (which of course begs the question: how’s that ‘arm’s length’?) to monitor and evaluate the efficacy of the government’s flagship programmes.
IEO suggestion: that the Planning Commission be replaced by a Reforms and Solutions Commission, staffed, not by generalist bureaucrats, but by experts. The Commission would report to the prime minister and “have a defined relationship with Parliament”.