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

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Command Performance by Planning Commission

Command Performance by Planning Commission BM THE Approach Paper on the Eighth Plan has been adopted by the full Planning Commission. According to the time-table indicated by the prime minister, the paper will be presented to the union cabinet in the second week of September and it goes without saying that it will be approved without much ado. It is, of course, always likely, considering the wayward manner of the prime minister's working, that the approval by the union cabinet may be stalled for some time. There was considerable dithering by the prime minister before he could be persuaded to go through with the formality of holding a meeting of the full Planning Commission under his chairmanship to adopt the Approach Paper. This was not because there could be any problem with the minister- members of the commit ion raising any awkward questions. the prime minister had given his nod oval at an informal meeting with the planners, there could be no such problem and the ceremonial adoption of the Approach Paper by the full commission went through smoothly. The union cabinet can be expected to behave no differently. The reluctance of the prime minister to endorse the Approach Paper for some time after it had been drafted by the planners in Yojana Bhavan seems to have been inspired by the idea planted by some faceless adviser that a pre-election public debate on the Eighth Plan may not suit the exigencies of the ruling party's electioneering which has been geared wholly and stridently to populist slogans and postures. It seems to have been argued that questions might be raised and doubts cast on the feasibility of the planned targets and the government's ability and willingness, considering its economic and social policy preferences, to realise the promises being made. But another set of advisers seem to have argued and apparently convinced the prime minister that the Approach Paper with its string of dazzling targets might actually make available to the ruling party and its publicists, advertisers and propagandists some additional talking points for his election campaign. The prime minister himself is so much under the spell of his publicity men and advertisers and the official media machine that he is unable to comprehend that the effect of their labour is often negative and counterproductive when achievements and claims are advertised and tall promises made which fly in the face of reality and known facts and, therefore, carry little conviction or credibility. This has been sharply spotlighted by the Bharat Bandh. Large sections even in the ruling party have actually begun to question the ef ficacy of mindless publicity and advertisement campaigns. This has relevance as much to the Approach Paper and the targets it flaunts as to the policies and promises ban died about by the government and in particular the prime minister himself.

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