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

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NEW DELHI-Talking Points, Not Policies

NEW DELHI Talking Points, Not Policies B M THE Planning Commission can be said to be back in business after a prolonged period of hibernation. The Prime Minister was at last able to find time on a Sunday to preside over the first full meeting of the reconstituted Commission. It had to be a rather formal affair, in the circumstances. All that was done was to formally endorse the Janata party's election manifesto as laying down the guidelines for the Planning Commission in its labours. It was announced after the meeting that the principal goal of the Sixth Plan, which the reconstituted Planning Commission had been called upon to draw up, would be to substantially reduce unemployment with a view to its elimination by the end of the Seventh Plan. The Deputy Chairman of the Commission, D T Lakdawala, afterwards told pressmen that this would automatically reduce the number of persons below the poverty line. Employment generation on a massive scale as envisaged, he said, would also require a corresponding provision of public goods and services such as drinking water, health services and education, village roads and public distribution of grain, vegetable oils, sugar, kerosene and some varieties of cloth, to start with. The goal of reducing disparities in incomes and consumption standards would also be kept in view in drawing up the Sixth Plan. But Lakdawala appeared to be a little hesitant in making any firm claims in this regard and suggested that this would be a relative and a subsidiary objective in the wider context of a plan to end unemployment How exactly will the laudable objectives set for the reconstituted Planning Commission be achieved? The major strategy in view, it was stated, would be to shift the emphasis in planned development to agriculture, irrigation and rural industries and to rely on area planning and use of local resources in materials and manpower. Studies would be instituted into costs and technologies for eight key industries to determine common production programmes and to determine allocation of capacities in production of goods in these industries as between large-scale and small scale units. The key industries which will be brought within the ambit of this study are grain milling, textiles, sugar, ceramics, vegetable oils, light metal fabrication, wood processing and leather. These industries have been picked up for special attention because they have a large employment potential.

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