The N.D.C. was set up for the first time in 1951 with a view to bringing about a coordination of plans between the Central Ministers and the State Governments.
In its original form it comprised of the Prime Minister as the Chairman, Chief Ministers of the State Governments and the members of the Planning Commission.
So long as the same political party remained in power at the Centre as well as in the State Governments, the National Development Council did not perform any effective role and only a General Election when different political parties acquired power to become more effective and centralized planning became very difficult to achieve.
In this context the role of N.D.C. has acquired new dimensions. The A.R.C. asked its Study Team to review the working of the Council in the past and to suggest ways and means to make it more effective in the future.
The Study Team made a number of recommendations regarding organization and functions of the Council, which were endorsed by the Reforms Commission and were later on accepted by the Government of India with some minor modifications by a resolution issued on October 7, 1967.
In the reconstituted Council, the Secretary of the Planning Commission acts as Secretary to the N.D.C. and the Commission is expected to provide such administrative and other support as may be necessary.
The revised functions of the N.D. C are: To strengthen and mobilize the efforts and resources of the nation in support of the Plan to promote common policies in vital spheres and to ensure the balanced and rapid development of all parts of the country.
The Government of India set up a National Development Council on 6th August, 1952. The Council is composed of the Prime Minister of India, the Chief Minister of States and Members of the Planning Commission. Secretary of the Planning Commission is Secretary of the Council also.
Its functions are:
(1) To review the working of the National Plan from time to time,
(2) To consider important questions of social and economic policy affecting national development, and
(3) To recommend measures for the achievement of the aims and the targets set out in the National Plan, including measures to secure the active participation and co-operation of the people, improve the efficiency of the administrative services, ensure the fullest development of the less advanced regions and sections of the community and, through sacrifice borne equally by all citizens, build up the resources for national development.
N.D.C. consists of the Prime Minister, all Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Ministers of all States and Union Territories and the Members of the Planning Commission.
The Lt. Governor and the Chief Executive Councilor of the remaining Union Territories and the respective Chief Ministers represent the Delhi Administration. It is also provided that other Union and States Ministers may be invited to participate in the deliberations of the N.D.C.
(1) To prescribe guidelines for the formation of the National Plan, including the assessment of resources for the Plan;
(2) To consider the National Plan as formulated by the Planning Commission;
(3) To consider the important questions of social and economic policy affecting national development; and
(4) To review the working of the plan from time to time and to recommend such measures as are necessary for achieving the aims and targets set out in the National Plan, including measures to secure the active participation and cooperation of the people, improve the efficiency of the administrative services, ensure the fullest development of the less advanced regions and sections of the community and through sacrifice borne equally by all the citizens build up resources for national development.
Thus, it is now the N.D.C., which prescribes the guidelines for the formulation of the National Plan. In this new set-up the function of the Planning Commission is to prepare the Plan according to these guidelines.
In this way, the National Development Council has emerged as the top- most policy-laying agency in the Government. Thus success of this new planning organization could depend mainly upon the tact and sagacity of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister.