Planning Commission: Activities of the Planning Commission and criticisms related to it

Narendra Modi in his speech today said that a new institution would be formed in place of the Planning Commission.  Modi said that there have been many speculations in the media about the future of the Planning Commission. He said that the Planning Commission was formed as a result of the situation prevalent at that time, times have changed now and, thus a new institution would be formed in place of the planning commission.

The composition of the Commission has undergone a lot of change since its inception. With the Prime Minister as the ex officio Chairman, the committee has a nominated Deputy Chairman, who is given the rank of a full Cabinet Minister. Presently the post of Deputy Chairman of the Commission is vacant, after the new Government in the Center.

 Here are five things why the Planning Commission was made and criticisms related to them

Criticism

The Planning Commission has faced wide criticism for spending INR3.5 million (US$58,000) to renovate two blocks of toilets, while declaring a very low, and arguably unrealistic, threshold of poverty of a monthly consumption of INR859.6 (US$14) in urban and INR672.8 (US$11) in rural areas.

Activities of Planning Commission

After India gained independence, Planning Commission was established on March 15 1950, with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the chairman. Expenditure of tenth five year plan was rs.43, 825 crores. The objectives of the eleventh Five year plan were Attain 8% GDP growth per year. To reduce poverty by 5% in 2007. Provide gainful and high-quality employment at least to the addition to the labour force. Reduction in gender gaps in literacy and wage rates by at least 50% by 2007.

The Twelfth Five-Year Plan of the Government of India has decided for the growth rate at 8.2% but the National Development Council (NDC) on 27 Dec 2012 approved 8% growth rate for 12th five-year plan. The growth rate in the first year of the 12th Plan (2012-13) was 6.5 to 7 percent.The government intends to reduce poverty by 10% during the 12th Five-Year Plan. Ahluwalia said, “We aim to reduce poverty estimates by 9% annually on a sustainable basis during the Plan period.”

Earlier, addressing a conference of State Planning Boards and Planning departments, Ahluwalia said the rate of decline in poverty doubled during the 11th Plan. The commission had said that the rate of poverty reduction in the five years between 2004–05 and 2009–10, was about 1.5% points each year, which was twice that when compared to the period between 1993-95 to 2004-05.

The functions of the Planning Commission

To make an assessment of the materials, capital, human resources and formulate a plan and execute it according to socio-political situation of the country. To determine the nature of the machinery required for securing the successful implementation of each stage of the plan in all its aspects. To update the timely progress achieved in each stage of the plan and also recommend the adjustments of policy and measures which are deemed important for a successful implementation of the plan. Such recommendations can be related to the prevailing economic conditions, current policies, measures or development programme. They can even be given out in response to some specific problems referred to the commission by the central or the state governments.

Social media

In March 2013, Planning Commission launched a massive social media campaign for spreading Awareness about 12th Five Year Plan through series of Google+ Hangouts and a Plan Hackathon. By September 2013, it had made a considerable presence on Social Media with over 1 lakh Twitter followers and a considerable size on Facebook, YouTube and SlideShare.

By Shri Krishna Iyer