Planning Commission of India

The Planning Commission of India was a non-constitutional and non-statutory body, which was responsible to formulate India’s five years plans for social and economic development in India. Prime minister of India is the Ex-officio chairman of the planning commission. It was established on 15 March, 1950 in accordance with article 39 of the constitution which is a part of directive principles of state policy.

Planning Commission:

Planning Commission was established by an executive decision of Government of India in 1950 in accordance with article 39 of the constitution which is a part of directive principles of state policy. Advisory Planning Board constituted in 1946 under the chairmanship of K.C Neogi gave recommendations for the establishment of the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is a non-constitutional and non-statutory body and is responsible to formulate five years plan for social and economic development in India.


The composition of the Planning Commission has been mentioned below:

(1) Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the commission. He presides over the meetings of the commission.

(2) Deputy Chairman is the de-facto chairman of the commission. He is given the rank of a Cabinet Minister. He is responsible to formulate and submit the draft Five Year Plan to central cabinet.

(3) The Finance Minister and the Planning Minister are the ex-officio members of the commission. In addition, some other central ministers may be appointed as part-time members of the commission.

(4) The commission has four to seven full-time members who are experts in various fields such as economics, industry, science and general administration. They enjoy the rank of a Minister of State.

(5) The commission has a member-secretary who is usually a senior IAS officer.

Organizational Structure

According to the functions, the Planning Commission has three organs:

1. Technical Divisions

2. Housekeeping Branches

3. Programme Advisors


The functions of the Planning Commission include the following:

1. To make an assessment of the material, capital and human resources of the country, including technical personnel, and investigate the possibilities of augmenting those are related resources which are found to be deficient in relation to the nation's requirement.

2. To formulate a plan for the most effective and balanced utilization of country's resources.

3. To define the stages, on the basis of priority, in which the plan should be carried out and propose the allocation of resources for the due completion of each stage.

4. To indicate the factors that tends to retard economic development.

5. To determine the conditions which need to be established for the successful execution of the plan.

6. To determine the nature of the machinery required for securing the successful implementation of each stage of the plan.

7. To appraise from time to time the progress achieved in the execution of each stage of the plan and also recommend the necessary adjustments of policy and measures necessary for successful implementation of plan.

8. To achieve public co-operation in national development.

9.  Hill Areas Development Programme

10. Perspective Planning

Therefore, the Planning Commission is responsible to advice the government on economic and social development planning. The government is responsible to take decisions on the recommendations of the Planning Commission and implement them.

Critical Appraisal of Planning Commission

Planning Commission was established as an advisory body but gradually, it became powerful and emerged dominant in policy decisions of the government. Many critics have labeled it as a Super Cabinet, a Parallel Cabinet, and an Economic Cabinet and so on. The presence of Planning Commission had encroached upon the authority and functions of Finance Commission as there was no clear boundary between roles and responsibilities of the two bodies. It has also been criticized for encroaching upon federal system of the country.

The First Administrative Reforms Commission of India observed that the Planning Commission has earned the reputation of being a parallel cabinet and sometimes, a Super Cabinet. It suggested that the Planning Commission should not interfere in the implementation of plan. In addition, D. R. Gadgil, the former deputy chairman of planning commission concluded that the commission has failed as its recommendations are only advisory and not binding. K. Santhanam, an eminent constitutional expert, criticized the Planning Commission of superseding the federal system of India. P.V. Rajamannar highlighted the overlapping of roles and responsibilities of the Planning Commission and the Finance Commission.


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