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

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End of the Planning Commission?

The nature of contemporary political economy in third world countries like India precludes not just socialist planning, but even Nehruvian planning, social democratic planning, fascist planning, or even planning in the sense of the nation state managing or negotiating its relations with globalised capital. It precludes any role for a "Planning Commission".

The National Democratic Alliance government is reported to be considering an end to the Planning Commission. Whether or not this actually happens, we are likely to see a further enfeeblement of the Planning Commission, a process that has been going on for quite some time.

Why should there have been such a process of enfeeblement at all? Some would answer this question by asserting that a Planning Commission simply cannot have any role in a neo-liberal regime. The country has moved away from the “Nehru-Mahalanobis strategy”1 which visualised substantial public investment, and hence the need for a “plan” to effect such investment. With the public sector displaced from its leading role, any particular “public” engagement in development projects that may still be required in a neo-liberal regime (through public-private partnerships for instance) can be planned and executed by the concerned departments. There is no longer any role for an overarching body like the Planning Commission.

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