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The Planning Commission

The Planning Commission was established in response to the National Planning Committee's report from 1949, which emphasised the importance of economic and social planning for the entire country. The Planning Commission was established as a permanent body of experts by Cabinet Resolution in March 1950.

As a result, the Planning Commission was an extra-constitutional, non-statutory body that worked under the direction of the National Development Council (NDC).

The Indian Constitution makes no mention of the Planning Commission.

The Planning Commission evaluates the country's physical, financial, and human resources. It looks into the possibility of recharging depleted resources. The Planning Commission developed its plan in such a way that the country's resources are utilised to their maximum potential.

Structure of Planning Commission

The Planning Commission was an economic development think tank chaired by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is assisted by a Deputy Chairman, whose primary responsibility is to coordinate the commission's work. The Deputy Chairman is equal to a Cabinet Minister in terms of rank.

Members: The Planning Commission is an open structure in terms of membership requirements. It does, however, have six Union Cabinet Ministers as ex-officio members, as well as a Member Secretary.

The commission was established as an independent body with the freedom to hold any position on various issues. It collaborates closely with the Union and State Cabinets and is well-versed in its policies. It is always consulted when changes to policies relating to social and economic issues are proposed.

The Union Cabinet is linked to the Planning Commission at the Secretariat level.

Planning Commission is a part of the Cabinet in terms of structure.

  • The Planning Commission's organisation and grant requests are included in the Cabinet Secretariat's budget request. Apart from a research organisation of its own, it has a staff of secretaries and advisers.

  • In the case of detailed plan formulation, the Deputy Chairperson and full-time members of the Planning Commission work together as a composite body. The various exercises undertaken for the formulation of approaches to the Five Year Plans and Annual Plans, provide advice and guidance to the commission's subject divisions.

  • Subject divisions can also seek their expert advice for monitoring and evaluating plan programmes, projects, and schemes.

Functions Of Planning Commission

The Planning Commission is charged with a number of critical functions and responsibilities for India's planning process.

Numerous primary responsibilities of the Planning Commission include the following:

  • Assess material, capital, and human resources and investigate the possibility of supplementing those identified as deficient.

  • Formulate a strategy for the most efficient and balanced utilisation of the country's resources;

  • Determine the plan's priorities, stages of implementation, and resource allocation in accordance with them;

  • Determine which of the following factors tends to halt economic development.

  • Determine the type of machinery required to successfully complete each stage of the plan;

  • Evaluate the plan's execution progress on a regular basis and recommend any necessary changes to the policy or measures.

  • To oversee the implementation of the plan, with an emphasis on the economic reform process;

  • To monitor the progress of the various Central Ministries.

The PC was transformed into a true 'Super Cabinet' with the addition of the last two functions. It has the potential to shape the future of economic reforms by influencing the work of various ministries.

The PC had also exerted a significant influence on state economic policies. It established a number of state-monitoring objectives. The PC's surveillance of these targets extended to the states.

Role Of Planning Commission

The Indian economy gradually shifted from a highly centralised planning system toward indicative planning, in which the Planning Commission was responsible for developing a long-term strategic vision and establishing national priorities. It established sectoral targets and stimulated the economy to grow in the desired direction.

The Planning Commission played an integrative role in formulating policies in critical areas of human and economic development. In the social sector, programmes requiring coordination and synthesis, such as rural health, drinking water, rural energy needs, literacy, and environmental protection, had not been subjected to Coordinated Policy formulation. It resulted in the proliferation of agencies. An integrated approach produced superior results at a fraction of the cost.

The commission emphasised on maximising the output while making the best use of our limited resources. Rather than simply increasing plan expenditures, the effort was to increase the efficiency with which the allocations are used. With severe constraints on available budgetary resources, the Resource Allocation System between States and Central Government Ministries was under strain.

This necessitates the Planning Commission acting as a mediator and facilitator, always keeping the best interests of all parties in mind. The commission ensured that change is managed smoothly and contributed to the development of a culture of high productivity and efficiency within the government.

The key to resource efficiency is the establishment of appropriate self-managed organisations at all levels. In this area, the Planning Commission seeks to effect systemic change and consults with the government on the development of more effective systems.

The Planning Commission also served as a conduit for information in order to disseminate the benefits of experience.

Abolishment of The Commission

The Planning Commission was abolished by the Narendra Modi government in 2014. It was replaced by the newly formed NITI Aayog, which better reflects the Indian people's current needs and aspirations.

NITI Aayog is India's premier platform for bringing states together to act in the national interest, fostering cooperative federalism.

The Various Division in the Commission fall under two Broad Categories

General Division

Subject Division

Development Policy


Financial Resource

Backward Classes

International Economics

Communication & Information

Labour, Employment &Manpower Division

Education, Environment & Forest

Perspective Planning Division

Health & Family Welfare

Plan Coordination

Housing & Urban Development

Project Appraisal & Management

Irrigation & Command Area Development

Socio-economic Research unit

Power and Energy Division

State Planning

Rural Division

Statistics and Survey

Industry & Mineral

Monitoring Cell

Science & Technology, Social Welfare, Transport, Village & Small Industries and Western Ghats Secretariat


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