Essay on the Office of the planning commission of India

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The Members of Planning Commission are assisted in their tasks by an office comprising various technical and subject divisions. A senior officer or expert is the head of each division designated as the ‘adviser’, who is a senior level officer of the level of Joint Secretary or Additional Secretary.

The head of division functions under the guidance of the member in-charge of that particular subject.

The tasks of co-ordination and overall supervision and guidance of the work of the division, especially in non-techni­cal matters, is the responsibility of the Secretary, Planning Commission.

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All the divisions in the Planning Commission concerned with plan formulation, monitoring and evaluation are grouped into three types of divisions as mentioned below:

(i) Subject Divisions:

The Subject divisions look after specific subjects, such as, agriculture divi­sion; communication and information division, power and energy division, science and technology divi­sion, education division, rural development division, transport division, etc, The number of subject divi­sions have gradually increased at the end -pf March 2006, stood at seventeen, which are concerned with specified fields of development in the related areas. All the divisions are involved in the task of formulation of a plan, which requires technical inputs of various kinds and specialised knowledge of the subjects that is being provided by the concerned division.

(ii) Specialist Divisions:

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The specialist divisions are concerned with different aspects of the en­tire economy like perspective planning, financial resources and development policy. Following special­ist divisions are functioning in the Planning Commission:

Ø Development Policy Division

Ø Financial Resources Division,

Ø Labour, Employment and Manpower Division

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Ø Plan Coordination Division,

Ø Perspective Planning Division

Ø Project Appraisal and Management Division

Ø International Economics Division

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Ø Infrastructure Division

Ø Programme Outcome and Response Monitoring Division

Ø Socio-economic Research unit

Ø State Plan Division, and

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Ø Multi-Level Planning Division, which includes Hill Area Development, Decentralised Planning, etc

Within the general organisation of the Planning Commission, the Programme Evaluation Organisation (PEO) has functioned since 1952 as an ancillary agency. It undertakes evaluation studies to assess the impact of selected Plan Programmes in order to provide feedback to the planners and implementing agencies.

We have seen that, under the Constitution, the subject of economic and social planning is in the Concurrent List, as this is a subject in which the Centre as well as the States are interested and have to work in unison.

The coordination of policies between the two integrating structures of the federal set-up is brought about through a process of mutual consultation. This system of consultation in the formulation of policies on the basis of overall national requirements is the central point of planning in our country.

The National Development Council (NDC) is the highest policy making body, which provides the opportunity for plans to be formulated and implemented throughout the country as a unified development effort. Its Chairman is the Prime Minister.

Its Members comprise Cabinet Ministers (some, not all), Chief Ministers of all the States and Members of the Planning Commission. The NDC is the body at the highest policy making level, which approves the approach, and later, the final plan.

Planning units of central ministries

Since the Central Ministries have an important role in the formulation of plans and considerable stake in the policies and programmes, which ultimately find a place, most Central Ministries have sepa­rate divisions or units for coordinating the work of the ministry to undertake these functions. The plan­ning unit of the Ministry works in close collaboration with the programme division of the Planning Com­mission. It also initiates and coordinates the work of the Working Groups that are set up for preparing the plan.

The draft proposals, incorporating the suggestions of the different working groups, are also prepared by it and these are then finalised by the Department/ Ministry concerned and sent to the Planning Commission.

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