The Planning Commission

The Planning Commission was set up in March 1950, by a resolution of the Government of India. However, the idea was first conceptualised on 17th December 1938 by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. After becoming the President of the Indian National Congress, he devised the concept of the National Planning Committee and appointed Jawaharlal Nehru as the president. The objective of the Planning Commission is to improve the standard of living of the people by providing more employment opportunities through various schemes and policies. The Planning Commission was charged with the responsibility of efficiently exploiting the resources of the country. The Planning Commission is neither a constitutional nor a statutory body. It functions under the National Development Council and is the supreme body of planning for social and economic development. The first Five-year Plan was launched in 1951.

The Planning Commission of India has been replaced by NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog in 2015. The chairman of the planning commission and NITI Aayog is the Prime Minister of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, “Through the NITI Aayog, India will move away from the one size fits all approach and forge a better match between schemes and needs of States”. NITI Aayog as India’s premier think tank thus aims to bring both the centre and the state together and work towards cooperative federalism.

Organisation of the Planning Commission of India

The Planning Commission is an advisory body. It consists of a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and six members. The Prime Minister is its Chairman and he presides over the meetings of the commission. The finance and planning ministers are appointed ex-officio members of the Commission. The Deputy Chairman is the de facto executive head of the Commission. He is responsible for providing advice and guidance for the formulation of Five Year Plans and Annual Plans. He is appointed by the Central cabinet for a fixed tenure, with the rank of a full Cabinet Minister. Some Central ministers are appointed as part-time members of the commission. It also has four to seven full time expert members from various fields like economics, industry, science and general administration. They enjoy the rank of a minister of state. The commission also has a member-secretary who is usually a senior member of IAS.

The functions of the Planning Commission are outlined as follows –

  1. To make an assessment of all resources of the country, including technical personnel, and to suggest ways of augmenting them.
  2. To formulate a plan for the most effective and balanced utilisation of country’s resources.
  3. To determine priorities and define the stages in which the plan should be carried out and to allocate resources to for completion of each stage.
  4. To indicate the factors retarding the economic development and to determine the conditions for the success of the plan.
  5. To determine the nature of the machinery for the successful implementation of the plan.
  6. To appraise from time to time the progress of the plan and to recommend necessary adjustments.
  7. To make appropriate recommendations for facilitating the discharge of its duties, or on matters as may be referred to it for advice by Central or State Governments.

External links:

Official Site of the Planning Commission of India

Planning Commission, Government of India – Background information on Planning Commission

ImportantIndia – Functions of Planning Commission

Maps of India – Planning Commission of India

Last Updated: Feb 02, 2019


The Planning Commission

  1. When was the first Five Year Plan launched?
    a) 1947
    b) 1950
    c) 1951
    d) 1954
  2. The Government of India set up the Planning Commission in __________
    a) 1950
    b) 1951
    c) 1948
    d) 1953
  3. _________ is the chairman of the Planning Commission.
    a) President
    b) Prime Minister
    c) Finance Minister
    d) Commerce Minister
  4. What is the main objective of the Planning Commission?
  5. Discuss the functions of the Planning Commission.
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