The Planning Commission today held a meeting with Vice Chairmen of State Planning Boards and Planning Secretaries to exchange views on key issues facing the Center or the States in the Twelfth Plan. Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Chairman, Shri MS Ahluwalia said that States have in the past been consulted at the time of the Annual Plan discussions with Chief Ministers, and when all States come to the National Development Council. This was the first time that a consultation was being held with Vice Chairmen of Planning Boards and Planning Secretaries of the States.
The meeting was convened as part of the Planning Commission’s efforts at broader outreach in preparing the Twelfth Plan to exchange views on critical policy issues and to share best practices. ShriAhluwalia said that there were many sector-specific success stories in many parts of the country. These were not sufficiently acknowledged or replicated. He felt that the planning processes, and our methods of funding, should be restructured to encourage experimentation and innovation, and to reward success.
ShriAhluwalia also emphasized that planners need to go beyond making a single or best-case prediction, based on ideal policies. Planners should also use other methodologies, such as scenario planning, which would show alternate equally plausible outcomes, if other policy choices are adopted. The consequences of suboptimal policies should be spelt out.
The meeting started by a presentation by ShriArunMaira, Member, Planning Commission on the different scenarios that the country might experience, ranging from a “Flotilla Advances” scenario where everything works as planned, to a “Muddling Along” scenario where there is partial progress, and a “Falling Apart” scenario where most of what needs to be done does not get done. This was followed by an overview of major issues we have to face in the Twelfth Plan, given by Dr.PronabSen, Principal Adviser, Planning Commission. In the next session, five selected states—Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Meghalaya, and Tamil Nadu made brief interventions about how they had improved their process of planning. This was followed by an open discussion with all states. The last session came up with specific ways in which the Commission and the States could work together to more effectively address the many challenges of the 12th Plan.
This meeting was attended by the Vice/Deputy Chairmen of the Planning Boards of fourteen States; two other States were represented by their Chief Secretaries. The remaining States and Union Territories had sent their Principal Secretaries of their Planning Departments.