Direct Democracy : Planning in India

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  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose emphasised the objectives of planning in independent India.  He set up the Congress Planning Committee  with Nehru as its Chairman and himself as the congress president (Oct 1938) but failed to continue because many leaders were imprisoned due to second world war(1939) and quit India struggle(Aug 1942).
  • A Planning Board was set up by Britist regime (1944-1946) where industrialists & economists can take 3 development plans.
    PM Nehru  established the Planning Commission by a resolution of the Union Cabinet ( March 15, 1950) which led to
    formation of the National Development Council (NDC) where PM of India & CMs of the States can review working of the Plan on various aspects”.
  • Union Cabinet again, by a resolution, established the NDC (on August 6, 1952) to perform functions:
    (i) To review the working of the National Plan from time to time;
    (ii) To consider important questions of social & economic policy affecting national development;
    (iii) To recommend measures for the achievement of the aims and targets set out in the National Plan,
    The government established Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) (1966) to review public administration systems in India chaired by Morarji Desai .
  •  ARC set up a Study Team with Chairman R.R. Morarka examined the planning procedures,practices and reported a masterly analysis of the Centre-State relationships in utilizing the instruments of the Planning Commission and the NDC.
    Politics and administration cannot be separated ,as administration is meant to give effect to political programmes but politics concerns itself also with the pursuit of power.
  • The extra-constitutional channel  connecting Centre  & State leadership was used to amply in order to resolve conflict,maintain party prestige and party discipline  rather than governmental or constitutional solution.
    The organisation of the meetings left CMs very little time to examine the proposals and finalise conclusions.
    The Study Team has made few recommendations to NDC'S role in order to make planning a truly national endeavor:
    (a) All basic questions of planning policy, particularly those pertaining to goals and objectives, alternative frameworks, strategy and crucial sectors should be placed squarely before the National Developmental Council in time and debated.
    (b) The Council should give the highest importance to these basic issues to help arrive at a national consensus keeping the national good in view
    (c) The Council should be assisted by a standing advisory committee consisting of official advisers from each State, the Central Ministries concerned and the Planning Commission
    ARC observed that there are 2 levels in the Indian governmental edifice— One, At the constitutional level, Centre must have powers to safeguard the unity of India & rwo, at the administrative level, over-concentration of authority should be avoided.
  • PM Nehru (August 1947-May 1964), held 20 NDC meetings of which 16 were two-day meetings. Also he allowed a large number of participants to express their views without setting any time limit. In contrast no NDC meetings were held between April 30, 1984 & August 31, 1987.
  • PM Manmohan Singh (since May 22, 2004) held One two-day meeting of the NDC and one-day NDC meetings every year.
    Govt of India has made Planning Commission an institution of ‘Planned Commissions and Omissions’ and converted the NDC into a ‘No Debate Club’.
  • The Planning Commission has launched a web-based consultative process where citizens can send suggestions at
    [email protected]” and also they wanted to revert the ancient direct democracy procedure practiced in the panchayats of ancient India where direct participation of every citizen is given importance without relying on the elected representatives.

Exams Perspective:

  1. Planning Commission
  2. National Development Council (NDC)
  3. Centre-State Relations
  4. Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC)
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