Building Institutions for Cooperative Planning in Federal India
Jointly Organised by: IPF and FOF
November 15, 2014, Constitution Club, New Delhi
A day-long seminar on “New Avatar of Planning Commission: Structure and Process” was jointly organized
by the India Policy Foundation (IPF)
and Forum of Federations (FOF)
, an international body of federations at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi, on November 15. This seminar was organized
to debate the structure and direction of the new body that is slated
to take the place of the erstwhile Planning Commission, which has now been abolished
by the Government of India.
Shri A.R. Kohli
, former Governor of Mizoram
commended the IPF and FOF for organizing a seminar on this very contemporary issue. He said that any solutions to any problem must be sought
in the fundamentals. Solutions based only on the superficial structure were bound
to collapse sooner or later
T.S.R. Subramanian, former Cabinet Secretary, Government of India
, said that there is a new generational shift taking place and called for building new
paradigm of thinking as part of the exercise. Organizations that wield
authority but are not accountable are apt to create hurdles, he said. He stressed on linkages between the country‟s
academic institutions and industry, drawing parallels with advanced countries.
Prof. Rakesh Sinha, Honorary Director, India Policy Foundation
said that the entire process of planning has been a victim of infantile disorder. No segment of the society can be included
from the process of
planning. The process of planning
in our country has been captive
in the hands of the elite,
who failed to
comprehend the unparalleled diversities of our nation and society, its indigenous skills and knowledge.
Shri Rupak Chattopadhyay, President & CEO, Forum of Federations
, briefly outlined the role of the Forum of Federations and India‟s
unique place in it. He emphasized the need to focus on outcomes rather than inputs.
In the second session, “Reforming Towards an Enabling Institution for Development”, Prof, Manoj Panda of the Institute of Economic Growth said that the Planning Commission
, under stalwarts like Prof. P.C. Mahalnobis
, did impart
some direction to the developmental needs of a newly independent country. India should have had the conviction to change that model, which it failed to
Prof. Ashwini Mahajan of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch
emphasized the need to construct a new edifice for holistic development of the country. He traced the changing composition of the country‟s
GDP and its
debilitating after-effects on a basic sector like agriculture and the country‟s
rural life, which was bound
to cast its effect on the rest of the economy.
Shri Amitabh Pande, former Secretary of the Inter-State Council of the Government of India was blunt and forthright in voicing his happiness at the demise of the Planning Commission, saying that the Prime Minister‟s
bold initiative has created the opportunity for fresh thinking. He called for either the creation of wholly
new institution or the revamp of existing institutions.
Prof. Dolly Arora of the Indian Institute of Public Administration
said that the perspectives on development differ vastly in India, because the people of the country are placed
differently in ownership of resources, their capacity to influence outcomes and their needs. This makes the very development concept a contested territory.
Shri Sameer Saran, Vice President, Observer Research Foundation, briefly traced the socioeconomic history following independence and stated that the decisions the country made today, as it seeks to create new institutions would decide the course of its future over the next few decades.
The third session of the seminar was on “New Institutions for Future Planning and Development”. Noted economic thinker Gopal Agarwal
made a forceful plea to include all stakeholders in the process of
building new institutions for development, governance and inclusive growth.
Shri B Surendaran, Deputy Organizing Secretary of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh
touched upon a very sensitive issue when he said that the attraction for residing
in the rural milieu and contributing to it, and respect for rural life has sadly diminished. He called for a five-tier model in the construction of any new institution.
Dr. Govinda Rao, Member of the Finance Commission reiterated the Prime Minister Narendra
message on the occasion of announcing the doing away of the Planning Commission and the setting up of a new one. He said the centralized command establishment had shown its utter inability to carry out its stated mandate.
Dr. Narendra Jadhav, former Member of the Planning Commission
said the body had become a whipping horse but had not done as badly as was being made. He said the proposed new entity must completely eschew the traditional command and control
mould. It must be a genuine knowledge hub bringing in expertise to handle complex issues and developments.
Shri Pradeep Singh Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International
was of the opinion that the Planning Commission did do
some good work, which should not be overlooked
. He said that the dire necessity of a new body is resonant with the wide opinion in the country with regard to
Shri Harsh Singh, former Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP – India
, said that India has reached a stage where its potentialities and the needs of its people have grown so large that they cannot be met by the process of planning alone
. Planned schemes or
a centrally planned process could not achieve desired outcomes. Shri Singh called for the creation of a highly politically empowered, „
National Transformation Commission‟ to generate consensus on the vision for a new India. process.