Though the Planning Commission came into existence with much fanfare and sky high expectations, its performance has not been commensurate with investments.
In 1951-52, the total investment was of the order of only Rs. 2000 crores. Investments have been doubling ever since but if a comparison is made with economies of other countries, it is clear that the performance is below the par for example, the uneven growth leading to concentration of wealth in few hands.
The creation of black economy and havoc it has been causing to the economy. Declining share in world trade with 0.4 per cent and one of the lowest per capita incomes is a sad commentary on our performance.
If we compare ourselves with a large country like China, it is clear that in many areas of infrastructure they are far ahead of us.
The planning process has had its ups and downs. Under Nehru, it was followed with enthusiasm. Under his successor Indira Gandhi there emerged the phenomenon of giving up planning and taking resort to Annual Plans.
She was also compelled to impose Emergency for about two years. Her successor, Rajiv Gandhi, perhaps did not have much idea of economics and had to take resort to large-scale borrowing from foreign and indigenous sources.
The economy was tottering when he was defeated at the polls in 1989. It was in these adverse circumstances that P.V. Narasimha Rao assumed reins of office and he had no option but to embark upon a new policy arising out of economic compulsions dictated by the creditors, the World Bank and IMF.
It led to a drastic change in the orientation towards planning. Planning which was Regulative became more indicative on the lines of French Planning.
Private Sector was given more prominence. Public Sector role was curtailed and opening up of the economy led to entry of multinationals in Indian industry leading to improved productivity and better use of latest techniques of production.
The country now has sufficient reserves of foreign exchange thanks to the policy of liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation.
Still the role of planning has not diminished and it has been discussed in detail in the latter pages.