Planning in India

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Planning in India
RICHARD S. ECKAUS
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

introduction
Indian planning is an open process. Much of the controversy and the debates that accompany the preparation of the plans are public. The initial aggregate calculations and assumptions are either explicitly stated or readily deducible, and the makers of the plans are not only sensitive but responsive to criticism and suggestions from a wide variety of na-

tional and international sources. From original formulation through successive modifications to parliamentary presentation, plan making in India has evolved as a responsive democratic political process. NOTE: An unusually large group of people have made major contributions to the research on which this paper is based, so much so, in fact, that the author feels be should be regarded as the rap porteur of a joint effort, especially with respect to the formulation of the model described. Yet, each individual might present and evaluate the results differently; so no one but the author is responsible for the opinions of this paper and any errors which it might contain. Credit for whatever merit there may be is shared with Professor S. Chakravarty of the Delhi School of Economics, Professor Louis Lefeber of Brandeis University, who participated in the original version of this paper, and Dr. Kirit Parikh, research associate of the Center for International Studies, M.I.T. The author is also indebted to Professors Max Millikan and P. N. Rosenstein-Rodan of M.I.T. Assistance has been provided by Mrinal Datta-Chaudhuri, Dr. T.

Krishnam, Dr. Jayant Shah, and T. Weisskopf which has gone far beyond doing calculations to order, and the author regards them as having been close associates. Professor Nino Andreatta of the University of Bologna; Dr. Ashish Chakravarti, Indian Statistical Institute; James A. Mirrlees, Cambridge University;

and Dr. Per Sevaldson of the Central Bureau of Statistics, Oslo, Norway, were instrumental in starting the original project; and their early advice has continued to be useful. The research has been financed by the India Project of the Center for International Studies, M.I.T., and the U.S. Agency for International Development, neither of which is responsible for the analysis and opinions expressed here. The M.I.T. Computation Center has been generous and cooperative in making its facilities available.

In revising the paper after the conference, •the comments of Professors A.

Manne and T. Koopmans were particularly helpful.

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Planning in Individual Countries

The wide political participation in the preparation of the plan is understandable if one realizes that the plan is not only intended as a set of prescriptions for economic behavior but represents the diverse aspira-

tions of a nation for social advancement. Yet, the nation is not a homogeneous political entity; it is composed of a variety of regional, linguistic, economic, cultural, and political groups. The many particular and frequently contradictory interests of each of these groups have to be recognized and to the degree it is possible, accommodated within the framework of the plans. The political process which leads to the formulation of the final document is undoubtedly an impressive manifestation of the workings of an open society. By its very nature it generates many problems from the point of view of mapping an optimal strategy for economic development. Though there has been a considerable amount of debate over the plans, there has been relatively little explicit attention given to alternative strategies or paths of economic growth and development. In fact the political discussions have been only tangentially concerned with questions of alternative compositions of national targets and much more with the capacity for saving and taxation, problems of direct controls and price stability. The latter are, of course, directly related to the setting of social-economic goals and to the...
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