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

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The Plan versus Departmental Prerogatives

The Plan versus Departmental Prerogatives

The Plan versus Departmental Prerogatives Arun Ghosh THE planning commission is reported to have been described some time back by its own exalted chief as a pack of jokers. Over the years, there has, of course, been a visible dichotomy between the plan programme and the action taken by diverse departments of the government, supposed to implement the plan. Latterly, the plan programme itself has come to be modified so as to reflect administrative (instead of planning) priorities. And the planning commission has, for quite some time, been known to bend itself backwards so as to incorporate within the plan the ad hoc flashes of inspiration that appear to suffuse the thinking of whoever happens to be the head of government. (In a sense these are flashes of inspiration in that the new programmes suddenly dreamt up are essentially designed to get the maximum propaganda mileage.) In this background, the mid-term appraisal of the plan assumes a somewhat interesting role. The latest mid-term appraisal of the Seventh Plan, presented to the National Development Council recently, is, however, interesting in more ways than one. One has of late come to expect blind sycophancy from ail those who occupy positions of authority and privilege in the central government. Instead, the latest mid-term appraisal shows, at least in part, that there are still some people left in the establishment who are capable of independent, cogent and coherent thinking. The pack of jokers, it turns out, has a few aces disguised as jokers.

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