ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Reformed 'Planning Commission'

The Way Forward

The government must recognise that one source of China’s strategic economic growth is an institution with strategic planning capacities, the National Development and Reform Commission. The success of China with the NDRC tells us that fiscal decentralisation, accountability mechanisms, experimentation, learning, and openness to expertise form the core of any institution that seeks to provide vision and strategic economic planning. Further, strategic planning institutions in Asian economies, like India’s Planning Commission, have helped deal with various regional and global economic crises; a lesson we must keep in mind.

This article is a longer and revised version of an article published in The Hindu.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-led government has decided to abolish the Planning Commission, and create a new institution in its place. This requires a redefinition of the functions of the old organisation. The following functions could be considered, in the light of concerns expressed by the government. First, it should function as the foremost government think tank. Second, it will need to continue to prepare five-year plans, or even perhaps slightly longer term perspective plans. Third, it needs to give a more effective voice to state governments. The erstwhile function of pre-appraising all projects from all ministries should be retired, except in areas where it has special expertise (as discussed later).

Think Tank Function

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