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

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Yojana Bhawan: Obiter Dictum

Now that the government has decided to abolish the Planning Commission and create a new body in its place, the question is what form and shape should the replacement take? Three articles discuss different aspects of the old and the likely new body. The first article here offers a detailed review of the history of planning dating from the Soviet era and outlines the different strands of thought that fed into the Indian experience with planning and argues that what was needed was a restructuring of the commission and not its abolition.

This is a revised version of a paper presented at a seminar organised by the Dr Ambedkar Institute for Social and Economic Change on “Is the Abolition of Planning Commission Justifiable?” in the University of Mumbai on 21 August 2014. The author is grateful to B L Mungekar, Mahendra Dev, Ajit Ranade, Ritu Dewan and other participants at the seminar for valuable comments. Responsibility for errors, views and prejudices lie solely with the author.

1 Introduction

While the death knell has been sounded for the 64-year-old Planning Commission, well before the resounding electoral victory of the National Democratic Alliance government, the administration of extreme unction had to await the prime minister’s Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort. In the wake of the historic announcement, the jubilant cries of triumph of corporate India reminded one of the Biblical blasts of Joshua’s trumpets at the crashing Walls of Jericho.

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