The Bold Voice of J&K

Revamp Plan

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Greatly impressed by the Soviet planning system, the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had set up the Planning Commission to steer the nation’s economic destiny. Set up by a Cabinet Resolution, the Commission enjoyed immense power and prestige as it had always been headed by the Prime Minister. Its most important function was to fix targets for sectoral growth and allocate resources to achieve them. The first Five-Year Plan was launched in 1951 and two 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 three Annual Plans between 1966 and 1969, the fourth Five-Year Plan was started in 1969. Seeking to strengthen cooperative federalism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that states must have a greater role in the new body which will replace the existing Planning Commission. The process of policy planning also has to change from “top to bottom” and “bottom to top”, he said, stressing that it was impossible for the nation to develop unless states develop. Modi said this in his remarks at the meeting with Chief Ministers, convened to discuss the structure of the new body which would replace the Planning Commission. The meeting was attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Chief Ministers with the exception of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and J and K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Modi said the replacement to the Planning Commission must incorporate the concept of “Team India”, which according to him, was a combination of three teams; the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers; the Union Council of Ministers; and the bureaucracy in the Centre and states. The move is seen to give more say to states so that an effective mechanism to address inter-state disputes is evolved. Conceived on the Soviet planning system which even the mother country has also abandoned in the face of changing global economic scenario India too should think in new lines. In this direction Modi’s initiatives to reinvent itself to remain more effective and relevant in the present situation would be a welcome move to usher in the much needed reforms to pace up development.

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