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Erstwhile Planning Commission

The Planning Commission was constituted in March, 1950 by a Resolution of the Government of India, and works under the overall guidance of the National Development Council.

The Planning Commission consults the Central Ministries and the State Governments while formulating Five Year Plans and Annual Plans and also oversees their implementation. The Commission also functions as an advisory body at the apex level.


The following functions had been assigned to the Planning Commission as per Allocation of Business Rules:

  1. Assessment of the material, capital and human resources of the country, including technical personnel, and formulation of proposals for augmenting such of these resources as are found to be deficient.
  2. Formulation of Plan for the most effective and balanced utilisation of the country’s resources.
  3. Definition of stages in which the Plan should be carried out on a determination of priorities and allocation of resources for completion of each stage.
  4. Determination of the nature of the machinery necessary for the implementation of the Plan in all its aspects.
  5. Appraisal from time to time of the progress achieved in the execution of each stage of the Plan.
  6. Public Cooperation in National Development.
  7. Hill Areas Development Programme.
  8. Perspective Planning.



The composition of Planning Commission of India has been subjected to various changes since its birth. From the beginning the Prime Minister has been its Chairman.

In 1951, the full time Deputy Chairman was appointed the Minister of Irrigation and Power. At the same time, it was decided to have a Minister of Planning, mainly to act as a spokesman of the Commission. He would be answerable to the Indian Parliament about the Commissions work, and the Deputy Chairman was appointed as Minister of Planning.

In addition to the Finance Minister and the Minister of Planning, other Union Ministers have also been appointed form time to time as members of the Commission. In can thus be said that the position, as it has developed in practice and by convention, is that the Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Commission and the Minister of Finance and Planning are appointed ex-officio members of the Commission. The total numbers of Ministers who were ex officio members of the Commission was three from 1951 to 1956. It increased to five in 1966. Till February 1973 the Commission consisted of Chairman and three other members. In March 1973 the number was raised to four.

In 1977, the Janata Party reconstituted the Planning Commission. The Finance, Defence and the Home Minister were added to the Planning Commission as part-time members besides full-time members.

Under Rajiv Gandhi, the Commission consisted of eight members including the Deputy Chairman of whom five were full-time and two part-time members. The National Front government changed the membership of Commission to nine on 1st February, 1994; its membership stood at thirteen.

In the end, the organisation of the planning commission was that the Indian Prime Minister was the ex-officio Chairman of the Commission and there was a nominated Deputy Chairman, who was given the rank of a full Cabinet Minister.

Cabinet Ministers of India with certain important portfolios acted as part-time members of the Commission, while the full-time members were experts of various fields like Economics, Industry, Science and General Administration.


Organisational Structure of PEO

The PEO was primarily a field level organisation under the overall charge of the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission. It had a three-tier structure with its Headquarters at Planning Commission, New Delhi.

The middle rung was represented by the Regional Evaluation Offices while the next link were the Field Units known as the Project Evaluation Offices.

At the apex was the Headquarters at New Delhi, which was responsible for evolving suitable methodologies including statistical designs for various types of evaluation studies, organizing execution and monitoring of sample surveys, data processing, statistical analysis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data generated by the field units and also for bringing out the Evaluation Reports. The Organisation was headed by the Adviser (Evaluation). The Project Directors were assisted by Senior Research Officers, Research Officers and technical staff. Technical Coordination (TC) Division keept liaison with all the field units, Administration, General Administration, Accounts Sections, Plan Coordination, other divisions of Planning Commission, Ministries/ Departments, Research Institutes, etc. It prioritied the schemes for study, attends to parliament questions/matters, Rajbhasha work, organizes seminars/ meetings and training programmes and maintains library.

The middle link of the PEO represented 7 Regional Evaluation Offices, that were located at Kolkata, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai. Each Regional Evaluation Office was headed by a Regional Evaluation Officer of the rank of Director/ Deputy Adviser and was assisted by two Research Officers, two Economic Officers and one Economic Investigator.

The Regional Evaluation Offices were responsible for the supervision of the fieldwork; scrutiny and compilation of field data collected for Evaluation Studies and provide guidance to Project Evaluation Offices under their jurisdiction. They were also responsible for maintaining a close liaison with the State Governments and also providing technical guidance to State Evaluation Units in organising State level studies.

The Field Units, known as Project Evaluation Offices constituted the third tier of the PEO. These were located in the capital cities of 8 major states of the country, viz.; at Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Shimla, Bangalore, Bhopal, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram and Ahmedabad.

Each Project Evaluation Office was headed by a Project Evaluation Officer of the rank of Senior Research Officer, who was assisted by one Research Officer, two Economic Officers and two Economic Investigators. Each PEO was under the administrative control of a Regional Evaluation Office. The Project Evaluation Offices in the Programme Evaluation Organisations were responsible for reporting the working and progress of the development programmes in their areas and for conducting evaluation studies under the guidance of their concerned REOs. They were also responsible for maintaining a close liaison with the State Governments under the overall supervision of Regional Evaluation Officer.

Technical Divisions

The various Divisions in the Commission fell under two broad categories:1.     General Divisions which are concerned with aspects of the entire economy

2.     Subject Divisions which are concerned with specified fields of development.

The General Divisions functioning in the Planning Commission were:

1.     Development Policy Division.

2.     Financial Resources Division.

3.     International Economics Division.

4.     Labour, Employment and Manpower Division.

5.     Perspective Planning Division.

6.     Plan Coordination Division.

7.     Project Appraisal and Management Division.

8.     Socio-Economic Research Unit.

9.     State Plan Division, including Multi Level Planning, Border Area Development Programme, Hill Area Development and North Eastern Region (NER).

10.                        Statistics and Surveys Division.

11.                        Monitoring Cell.


The Subject Divisions were:

1.     Agriculture Division.

2.     Backward Classes Division.

3.     Communication and Information Division.

4.     Education Division.

5.     Environment and Forests Division.

6.     Health and Family Welfare Division.

7.     Housing, Urban Development and Water Supply Division.

8.     Industry and Minerals Division.

9.     Irrigation and Command Area Development Division.

10.                        Power and Energy Division (including Rural Energy, Non-Conventional Energy Sources and Energy Policy Cell).

11.                        Rural Development Division.

12.                        Science and Technology Division.

13.                        Social Welfare and Nutrition Division.

14.                        Transport Division.

15.                        Village and Small Industries Division.

16.                        Western Ghats Secretariat.


The Programme Evaluation Organisation undertook evaluation studies to assess the impact of selected Plan Programmes/ Schemes in order to provide useful feedback to planners and implementing agencies.


The Programme Evaluation Organisation (PEO) undertook evaluation of selected programmes/schemes under implementation, as per the requirement of the various Divisions of Planning Commission and Ministries/Departments of Government of India.

The evaluation studies were designed to assess the performance, process of implementation, effectiveness of the delivery systems and impact of programmes.

The objectives of evaluation work taken-up by PEO included objective assessment of process and impact of the development programmes, identifying the areas of success and failures at different stages of administration and execution, analysis of reasons for success or failure, examining extension methods and people’s reactions thereto and deriving lessons for future improvement in the formulation and implementation of the new programmes/schemes.

Critical Analysis

The Planning Commission introduced in 1950, has been dissolved by National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) in 2015.

Both are advisory bodies to formulate the plans for the development of India. The Planning Commission was centre based body to promote a rapid rise in the standard of living and eradication of poverty by efficient exploitation of the resources of the country, increasing employment opportunities and production.

It was charged for planning the allocation of funds to the concerned ministries and the policies for the development of the nation. But this body had a major drawback i.e. the least involvement of the state governments in this process of planning and its implementation which diluted the federal character of the nation. Commission was designed for underdeveloped India, but today Indian industry and service sector has reached on global scale and India has become a major economic force.

The Planning Commission was a 65 year old body which was designed for the specific economic condition of India, whereas the NITI Aayog is designed for the current economic position.

Abolition of NDC

The Narendra Modi government is winding up the National Development Council, an apex body consisting of the Prime Minister, the concerned central cabinet ministers, and all state chief ministers together with their concerned cabinet colleagues, which supervised the planning process in the country, and gave final approval to the various five-year plans, and met periodically to take stock of issues and policy measures relating to economic development.

This move to abolish the NDC, a body that had come into existence in the early years of the Nehru era, was an expected one from the Modi government, as it had already abolished the Planning Commission and therewith the entire process of national planning.

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