Amid debate over role of the Planning Commission in changed market economy, a group of experts and parliamentarians has pitched for active participation of states in the planning process. Reinvent the Commission but make planning a federally empowered function with active participation of states and in a bottom up mode, a round-table discussion on the role of the institution has summed up.
Several ex-members of the Commission, parliamentarians and other experts participated in several rounds of discussion on the role of the panel in the new market economy. The discussions, organised by CUTS International, concluded on Thursday.
The overarching sense also entailed discussions on how to retain the authority of Planning Commission if it was to act solely as a think-tank sans financial allocation powers, which is now a settled majority view.
Participants drew examples of Korea and Thailand, where planning is done by research bodies, which are effective only because of government’s acceptance. Suggestions were also made for the need of reviving the constitutionally empowered district planning committees in order to take on board a bottom-up approach for overall planning.
It was also emphasised that the new Commission should be a lean body, gaining objective perspectives from outside, and that “the need of the hour is not only to think out of the box but as if there was no box”.
However, the government has told Parliament that there is no proposal under its consideration for scraping and rationalising the present form of the planning body.
Among others who participated in the debate include Arun Maira, Pronab Sen, Ajay Chhibber, B K Chaturvedi, Syeda Hameed, B L Mungekar, Mani Shanker Aiyer, R Ramakrishna, C P Thakur, V P Singh, Ashok Jha, Gopal Pillai, N C Saxena, Sanjaya Baru and Surjit Bhalla.