The National Development Council or the Rashtriya Vikas Parishad was set up on 6th August 1952 to strengthen and mobilise the effort and resources of the nation in support of the plan, to promote common economic policy in all vital spheres, and to ensure the balanced and rapid development of all parts of the country.
The Council which was re-constituted on October 7, 1967 is the highest decision making authority in the country in the area of development matters.
It is a constitutional body with representation from both the Centre and States.
The Council is headed by the Prime Minister and all Union Cabinet Ministers, State Chief Ministers, representatives of Union Territories; Members of Planning Commission are its members. The Secretary/ Member-Secretary of Planning Commission functions as the Secretary of the Council and all administrative assistance is rendered by Planning Commission.
The purpose of NDC is to secure the active participation and cooperation of the people, improving the efficiency of the administrative services, ensuring the development of the less advanced regions and sections of the community and, build up resources for national development. It was envisaged that the NDC would advise and make recommendations to the Central and state governments.
It has been functioning since its inception as a high power consultative body wherein the frame of the Five-Year Plans and the policies, that have to be adopted for tiding over the urgent problems of economy have been discussed and solutions arrived at. Thus, in addition to the plan, the council has concerned itself with problems like food, creation of the State Trading Corporation and land reforms.
The council is to act as a kind of bridge between the Union government, the Planning Commission and the state governments. It helps in the coordination not only of policies and programmes but also other matters of national importance. It provides a useful forum for full and free exchange of views and served as an effective device for sharing of responsibility between states and the Union government.
Functions of the NDC
- Assessment of resources required for implementing the plan and to suggest ways and means for raising them.
- Review of the working of the plan from time to time and to recommend such measures as are necessary for achieving the aims and targets.
- Prescription of guidelines for the formulation of the national plan.
- Consideration of the national plan as formulated by the Planning Commission.
- Consideration of important questions of social and economic policy affecting development.
The working of the NDC in Nehru and post-Nehru era has invited favourable, unsympathetic and critical reactions from scholars and practitioners of Indian politics and administration. The composition, chairmanship, and decisions and affectivity of committees have been subjects of debate and controversies.
The collapse of the Congress ruled states and later the coalitional prime ministers and opposition chief ministers have totally revised the political scenario and the institutional roles of the commission and NDCs are being adjusted to changing patterns of liberalized economy and regionalized federalism.