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

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The Famous Battle of the Plan

The Famous Battle of the Plan B M THE atmosphere in Yojana Bhavan has changed dramatically from one of despondency to one of elation. The Planning Commission claims to have won a famous victory in a close tussle with the Finance Ministry on the question of the size of the Sixth Plan. The position had seemed grim when the Commission received a note from the Finance Ministry early last month demanding a substantial cut of between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000 crores in the outlay of Rs 69,000 crores proposed in the Draft Plan. On its part, the Planning Commission had been carrying out elaborate exercises on updating the Draft Plan and these exercises had indicated that the financial outlay on the Plan would have to be increased by nearly the same amount as the cut proposed by the Finance Ministry if its output targets were to be kept intact. The Commission tried to make adjustments in its calculations to accommodate the Finance Ministry's views, but it found that some critical programmes and projects would suffer severe damage, and indeed the entire edifice of the Plan would crumble, if the Plan outlay was not raised by at least Rs 2,000 crores. But this seemed an impossible task in the prevailing political environment when all talk in the corridors of government was about cutting government expenditure, about enforcing a dedit squeeze and about other measures to somehow curb the expaasion of money supply as the only way to arrest the rise in prices.

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