A K Bhattacharya: Much more than numbers

A K Bhattacharya: Much more than numbers: The confusion over whether the growth rate projected is in real or nominal terms has influenced the other targets as well...


This refers to the brilliant take by A K Bhattacharya (Business Standard, New Delhi Diary, April 27, 2016) on the agenda for action to transform India unveiled by Modigovernment recently. The positive side is, Government’s intention to rebuild the Planning Commission, which was described by Prime Minister Modi as a ‘house in
disrepair’ needing reconstruction in his first Independence Day address from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 2014, is gradually being converted to actionable sub-projects. It would be a great idea to reinvent planning by splitting the present 2032 Vision into three 5 Year Plans, first one terminating in 2021.
NITI Aayog since its coming into being has been having serious debates and generating several work papers, involving stakeholders, economists and experts in various fields who had earlier confined their activities in teaching in reputed institutions or writing in the media or producing excellent research papers. Modi need to be credited with the effort to make planning and execution more democratic and participative.
Removal of poverty in India in a decade and a half is an achievable goal. We have the resources, we have the manpower and we have capacity to build necessary infrastructure at ‘short notice’. Resources include unmapped natural resources, untapped domestic stock of valuables including surface stock of gold, potential inflow of funds from NRIs and the unexploited human resources. To exploit these resources, planning has to be bottom-up. Ask the district level administrations to map the resources taluka-wise and come out with plans to deploy them for local economic growth and development.
Long back, some efforts were made in this direction through the banking system at the instance of the Reserve bank of India. The reference is to Lead bank Scheme and District and State Level Bankers’ Committees in which several state government and non-government agencies participated recognising bank credit as a tool for catalysing economic growth. A rebuilding of institutionalised coordination efforts for grass-root level development is overdue.

M G Warrier


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