History of Planning in India

First of all the idea of planned economy was crystallized in 1930s when our national leaders came under the influence of socialist philosophy. India’s Five year plans were very much impressed by the rapid strides achieved by the USSR through five years plans.

In 1934, Sir M. Visvesvaraya had published a book titled “Planned Economy in India”, in which he presented a constructive draft of the development of India in next ten years. His core idea was to lay out a plan to shift labor from agriculture to industries and double up National income in ten years. This was the first concrete scholarly work towards planning. The economic perspective of India’s freedom movement was formulated during the thirties between the 1931 Karachi session of Indian National Congress, 1936 Faizpur session of India National Congress.

National Planning Committee

The first attempt to develop a national plan for India came up in 1938. In that year, Congress President Subhash Chandra Bose had set up a National Planning Committee with Jawaharlal Nehru as its president. However the reports of the committee could not be prepared and only for the first time in 1948 -49 some papers came out.

Bombay Plan

In 1944 Eight Industrialists of Bombay viz. Mr. JRD Tata, GD Birla, Purshottamdas Thakurdas, Lala Shriram, Kasturbhai Lalbhai, AD Shroff , Ardeshir Dalal, & John Mathai working together prepared “A Brief Memorandum Outlining a Plan of Economic Development for India”. This is known as “Bombay Plan”. This plan envisaged doubling the per capita income in 15 years and tripling the national income during this period. Nehru did not officially accept the plan, yet many of the ideas of the plan were inculcated in other plans which came later.

People’s Plan

People’s plan was drafted by MN Roy. This plan was for ten years period and gave greatest priority to Agriculture. Nationalization of all agriculture and production was the main feature of this plan. This plan was based on Marxist socialism and drafted by M N Roy on behalf of the Indian federation of Lahore.

Gandhian Plan

This plan was drafted by Sriman Nayaran, principal of Wardha Commercial College. It emphasized the economic decentralization with primacy to rural development by developing the cottage industries.

Sarvodaya Plan

Sarvodaya Plan (1950) was drafted by Jaiprakash Narayan. This plan itself was inspired by Gandhian Plan and Sarvodaya Idea of Vinoba Bhave. This plan emphasized on agriculture and small & cottage industries. It also suggested the freedom from foreign technology and stressed upon land reforms and decentralized participatory planning.

Planning and Development Department

In August 1944, The British India government set up “Planning and Development Department” under the charge of Ardeshir Dalal. But this department was abolished in 1946.

Planning Advisory Board

In October 1946, a planning advisory board was set up by Interim Government to review the plans and future projects and make recommendations upon them.

Planning Commission

Immediately after independence in 1947, the Economic Programme Committee (EPC) was formed by All India Congress Committee with Nehru as its chairman. This committee was to make a plan to balance private and public partnership and urban and rural economies. In 1948, this committee recommended forming of a planning commission. In March 1950, in pursuance of declared objectives of the Government to promote a rapid rise in the standard of living of the people by efficient exploitation of the resources of the country, increasing production and offering opportunities to all for employment in the service of the community, the Planning Commission was set up by a Resolution of the Government of India as an advisory and specialized institution. Planning Commission was an extra-constitutional body, charged with the responsibility of making assessment of all resources of the country, augmenting deficient resources, formulating plans for the most effective and balanced utilization of resources and determining priorities. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Chairman of the Planning Commission.

National Development Council

Government of India could take the initiative to set up the planning commission only by virtue of provision in the constitution which made Economic & Social planning an item in Concurrent list. The Resolution to set up a planning commission was actually based upon the assumption that the roots of Centre- State cooperation should be deeper. Later, in 1952, the setting up of the National Development Council was in fact a consequence of this provision.

Last Updated: December 11, 2015

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