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From 50 Years Ago (30 June 2006)

Commission

Commission’s organisation is small. The few These factors, apart from the ramified data

FROM 50 YEARS AGO

top-level officers and members of the Com-that was available from the Central and the mission over-work themselves pitilessly, State Governments, impelled the Commission attending meetings during the office hours to pause, assess and think at every stage of and spending almost as much time afterwards its work. Planning for the second five years to clear their desks. But the multifarious has been much less mechanical than for the functions that the Commission is being called first…

Vol VIII, Nos 24, 25 and 26, June 23, 1956 upon to do, engender a certain amount of It was however at one of the last meetings

specialisation and a corresponding decentrali-of the National Development Council beforeThe Travail of Planning sation of responsibility. And as soon as that the finalisation of the Second Plan that Shri (Our Delhi Letter) happens, there is danger that the various wings K Hanumanthaiyya shed all reserve to attack

of the Commission, like those of the Govern-the Commission for neglecting the south. He

Such flippant talk is often heard, whenever ment, may go their several ways and planning had the sympathy of most of the southern the Planning Commission is discussed over may thus lose the cohesion and unity that states when he said that from their point of coffee cups, in the bars or the drawing rooms should be its essence... view the Plan was a downright “fraud” – it of the capital – and that happens most of the The creation and compilation of the Sec-taxed their resources without making a protime...The Commission, as some one put it, ond Plan has been comparatively an extremely portionate provision for spending them in is spreading its tentacles wider and deeper complex affair. The outlay has been raised their territory. He backed his charges with into India’s chunk of the time-space progressively to proportions twice as high as figures. All the major development works continuum...At the practical level, therefore, the firm resources. The estimates of foreign including steel plants were located in the every time there is talk of administrative aid, the extent of deficit financing that the north; not a mile of new railway line was to economy, the organisation of the Plannng economy can safely bear are controversial; be built in large areas of the south under the Commission expands. the “gaps” are palpable. Besides, the Plan has First and the Second Plans. For a moment,

Herein lies the Commission’s dilemma. a social philosophy which, many believe, is the Council reeled under his vehemence but In terms of the task assigned to it, the in conflict with the economic reality. obviously he was too late!

Economic and Political Weekly June 30, 2006

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