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

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From 50 Years Ago: Shape of Things.

Editorial from Volume IX, No 49, December 7, 1957. 

... the Government does not, even now, know to what precise extent the Plan will have to be pruned because of lack of foreign exchange resources. Incidentally, political aspects of the Plan have been fully exploited by the Opposition. But a point, which has not been made explicit by the Opposition, needs emphasis. It would be cantankerous to take the Government to task for not informing Parliament the detailed cuts that will have to be effected in the Plan. But the Opposition and the people have a right to demand that the pruning itself will be planned with care and precision. New Delhi has never quite answered the criticism that the foreign exchange crisis is, to a large extent, though not mainly, due to hasty and indiscriminate imports, some of which have been outside the Plan. What guarantee is there that the Government will not repeat the mistake of slashing the Plan without due consideration to priorities? This raises the second point which t he Opposition should have, but has not, made. Suspicion grows that the foreign exchange crisis, which is forcing a cut in the Plan, may frighten the Government away from the basic economic policies and assumptions behind the Plan. It is not necessary, though not irrelevant, in the present context, to analyse the ideological influences which explain why the public sector is conf ronted with lack of foreign exchange resources while the private sector has no foreign exchange problem. But this fact, aptly emphasised by Shri G D Birla, in his Bombay statements, immediately after his return from the tour of foreign countries as the leader of the Industrial Mission, lends weight to the suspicion that the foreign exchange crisis may lead to an expansion in the private sector, not envisaged in the Plan, at the cost of the public sector.

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