NCERT Textbook - Politics of Planned Development Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 12

Created by: Uk Tiwary

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Politics of Planned Development Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


 
In this chapter…
In the last two chapters we have studied how the leaders of independent 
India responded to the challenges of nation-building and establishing 
democracy. Let us now turn to the third challenge, that of economic 
development to ensure well-being of all. As in the case of the first two 
challenges, our leaders chose a path that was different and difficult. In 
this case their success was much more limited, for this challenge was 
tougher and more enduring.
In this chapter, we study the story of political choices involved in some 
of the key questions of economic development. 
•	 What 	were	 the	key	 choices	and	debates 	about	development?
•	 Which	strategy	was	 adopted 	 by	our	leaders	in 	the	first	two		 	 	
	 decades? 	And	why?
•	 What 	were	 the	main	achievements 	and	limitations	of	this	strategy?
•	 Why	 was	this	 development 	strategy 	abandoned	in	later	years?
Stamps like these, 
issued mostly between 
1955 and 1968, 
depicted a vision of 
planned development. 
Left to right, top to 
bottom: Damodar 
Valley, Bhakra 
Dam, Chittaranjan 
Locomotives, Gauhati 
Refinery, Tractor, Sindri 
Fertilisers, Bhakra Dam, 
Electric Train, Wheat 
Revolution, Hirakud 
Dam, Hindustan Aircraft 
Factory 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 2


 
In this chapter…
In the last two chapters we have studied how the leaders of independent 
India responded to the challenges of nation-building and establishing 
democracy. Let us now turn to the third challenge, that of economic 
development to ensure well-being of all. As in the case of the first two 
challenges, our leaders chose a path that was different and difficult. In 
this case their success was much more limited, for this challenge was 
tougher and more enduring.
In this chapter, we study the story of political choices involved in some 
of the key questions of economic development. 
•	 What 	were	 the	key	 choices	and	debates 	about	development?
•	 Which	strategy	was	 adopted 	 by	our	leaders	in 	the	first	two		 	 	
	 decades? 	And	why?
•	 What 	were	 the	main	achievements 	and	limitations	of	this	strategy?
•	 Why	 was	this	 development 	strategy 	abandoned	in	later	years?
Stamps like these, 
issued mostly between 
1955 and 1968, 
depicted a vision of 
planned development. 
Left to right, top to 
bottom: Damodar 
Valley, Bhakra 
Dam, Chittaranjan 
Locomotives, Gauhati 
Refinery, Tractor, Sindri 
Fertilisers, Bhakra Dam, 
Electric Train, Wheat 
Revolution, Hirakud 
Dam, Hindustan Aircraft 
Factory 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
3
chapter
pOLItIcS OF pLaNNeD 
DeVeLOpMeNt
As the global demand for steel increases, Orissa, which has one of 
the largest reserves of untapped iron ore in the country, is being 
seen as an important investment destination. The State government 
hopes to cash in on this unprecedented demand for iron ore and 
has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both 
international and domestic steel makers. The government believes 
that this would bring in necessary capital investment and proivde a 
lot of employment opportunities. The iron ore resources lie in some 
of the most underdeveloped and predominantly tribal districts of the 
state. The tribal population fears that the setting up of industries 
would mean displacement from their home and livelihood. The 
environmentalists fear that mining and industry would 
pollute the environment. The central government feels 
that if the industry is not allowed it would set a bad 
example and discourage investments in the country.
Can you identify the various interests involved in this 
case? What are their key points of conflict? Do you think 
there are any common points on which everyone can 
agree? Can this issue be resolved in a way which satisfies 
all the various interests? As you ask these questions, you 
would find yourself facing yet bigger questions. What 
kind of development does Orissa need? Indeed, whose 
need can be called Orissa’s need? 
Political contestation
These questions cannot be answered by an expert. 
Decisions of this kind involve weighing the interests of 
one social group against another, present generation 
against future generations. In a democracy such major 
decisions should be taken or at least approved by the 
people themselves.  It is important to take advice from 
experts on mining, from environmentalists and from 
economists. Yet the final decision must be a political 
decision, taken by people’s representatives who are in 
touch with the feelings of the people. 
After Independence our country had to make a series 
of major decisions like this. Each of these decisions 
could not be made independent of other such decisions. 
All these decisions were bound together by a shared 
vision or model of economic development. Almost 
Orissa villagers protest 
against POSCO plant 
Staff Reporter 
BHUBANESWAR: People facing 
displacement by the proposed 
POSCO-India steel plant in 
Jagatsinghpur district staged 
a demonstration outside the 
Korean company’s office here on 
Thursday. They were demanding 
cancellation of the memorandum of 
understanding signed between the 
company and the Orissa government 
one year ago. 
More than 100 men and women 
from the gram panchayats of 
Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujanga 
tried to enter the office premises 
but the police prevented them. 
Raising slogans, the protesters 
said the company should not be 
allowed to set up its plant at the cost 
of their lives and livelihood. The 
demonstration was organised by the 
Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan and the 
Nabanirman Samiti. 
The Hindu, 23 June 2006
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 3


 
In this chapter…
In the last two chapters we have studied how the leaders of independent 
India responded to the challenges of nation-building and establishing 
democracy. Let us now turn to the third challenge, that of economic 
development to ensure well-being of all. As in the case of the first two 
challenges, our leaders chose a path that was different and difficult. In 
this case their success was much more limited, for this challenge was 
tougher and more enduring.
In this chapter, we study the story of political choices involved in some 
of the key questions of economic development. 
•	 What 	were	 the	key	 choices	and	debates 	about	development?
•	 Which	strategy	was	 adopted 	 by	our	leaders	in 	the	first	two		 	 	
	 decades? 	And	why?
•	 What 	were	 the	main	achievements 	and	limitations	of	this	strategy?
•	 Why	 was	this	 development 	strategy 	abandoned	in	later	years?
Stamps like these, 
issued mostly between 
1955 and 1968, 
depicted a vision of 
planned development. 
Left to right, top to 
bottom: Damodar 
Valley, Bhakra 
Dam, Chittaranjan 
Locomotives, Gauhati 
Refinery, Tractor, Sindri 
Fertilisers, Bhakra Dam, 
Electric Train, Wheat 
Revolution, Hirakud 
Dam, Hindustan Aircraft 
Factory 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
3
chapter
pOLItIcS OF pLaNNeD 
DeVeLOpMeNt
As the global demand for steel increases, Orissa, which has one of 
the largest reserves of untapped iron ore in the country, is being 
seen as an important investment destination. The State government 
hopes to cash in on this unprecedented demand for iron ore and 
has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both 
international and domestic steel makers. The government believes 
that this would bring in necessary capital investment and proivde a 
lot of employment opportunities. The iron ore resources lie in some 
of the most underdeveloped and predominantly tribal districts of the 
state. The tribal population fears that the setting up of industries 
would mean displacement from their home and livelihood. The 
environmentalists fear that mining and industry would 
pollute the environment. The central government feels 
that if the industry is not allowed it would set a bad 
example and discourage investments in the country.
Can you identify the various interests involved in this 
case? What are their key points of conflict? Do you think 
there are any common points on which everyone can 
agree? Can this issue be resolved in a way which satisfies 
all the various interests? As you ask these questions, you 
would find yourself facing yet bigger questions. What 
kind of development does Orissa need? Indeed, whose 
need can be called Orissa’s need? 
Political contestation
These questions cannot be answered by an expert. 
Decisions of this kind involve weighing the interests of 
one social group against another, present generation 
against future generations. In a democracy such major 
decisions should be taken or at least approved by the 
people themselves.  It is important to take advice from 
experts on mining, from environmentalists and from 
economists. Yet the final decision must be a political 
decision, taken by people’s representatives who are in 
touch with the feelings of the people. 
After Independence our country had to make a series 
of major decisions like this. Each of these decisions 
could not be made independent of other such decisions. 
All these decisions were bound together by a shared 
vision or model of economic development. Almost 
Orissa villagers protest 
against POSCO plant 
Staff Reporter 
BHUBANESWAR: People facing 
displacement by the proposed 
POSCO-India steel plant in 
Jagatsinghpur district staged 
a demonstration outside the 
Korean company’s office here on 
Thursday. They were demanding 
cancellation of the memorandum of 
understanding signed between the 
company and the Orissa government 
one year ago. 
More than 100 men and women 
from the gram panchayats of 
Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujanga 
tried to enter the office premises 
but the police prevented them. 
Raising slogans, the protesters 
said the company should not be 
allowed to set up its plant at the cost 
of their lives and livelihood. The 
demonstration was organised by the 
Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan and the 
Nabanirman Samiti. 
The Hindu, 23 June 2006
2015-16(21/01/2015)
48                                                                   Politics in India since Independence
I thought the 
connection was simpler! 
All big decisions involve 
big money and that is 
why politicians take 
these decisions.
everyone agreed that the development 
of India should mean both economic 
growth and social and economic 
justice. It was also agreed that this 
matter cannot be left to businessmen, 
industrialists and farmers themselves, 
that the government should play a key 
role in this. There was disagreement, 
however, on the kind of role that the 
government must play in ensuring 
growth with justice. Was it necessary 
to have a centralised institution to 
plan for the entire country? Should 
the government itself run some key 
industries and business? How much 
importance was to be attached to the 
needs of justice if it differed from the 
requirements of economic growth? 
Each of these questions involved 
contestation which has continued ever 
since. Each of the decision had political 
consequence. Most of these issues involved political judgement and 
required consultations among political parties and approval of the 
public. That is why we need to study the process of development as a 
part of the history of politics in India.    
Ideas of development
Very often this contestation involves the very idea of development. The 
example of Orissa shows us that it is not enough to say that everyone 
wants development. For ‘development’ has different meanings for 
different sections of the people. Development would mean different 
things for example, to an industrialist who is planning to set up a 
steel plant, to an urban consumer of steel and to the Adivasi who 
lives in that region.  Thus any discussion on development is bound to 
generate contradictions, conflicts and debates. 
The first decade after Independence witnessed a lot of debate around 
this question. It was common then, as it is even now, for people to refer 
to the ‘West’  as the standard for measuring development. ‘Development’ 
was about becoming more ‘modern’ and modern was about becoming 
more like the industrialised countries of the West. This is how common 
people as well as the experts thought.  It was believed that every country 
would go through the process of modernisation as in the West, which 
involved the breakdown of traditional social structures and the rise 
of capitalism and liberalism. Modernisation was also associated with 
the ideas of growth, material progress and scientific rationality.  This 
kind of idea of development allowed everyone to talk about different 
countries as developed, developing or underdeveloped. 
What is Left and what is Right?
In the politics of most countries, you will always 
come across references to parties and groups  
with a Left or r ight  ideology or leaning. These terms 
characterise the position of the concerned groups or 
parties regarding social change and role of the state 
in effecting economic redistribution. Left often refers 
to those who are in favour of the poor, downtrodden 
sections and support government policies for the 
benefit of these sections. The r ight refers to those 
who believe that free competition and market economy 
alone ensure progress and that the government should 
not unnecessarily intervene in the economy. 
Can you tell which of the parties in the 1960s were 
Rightist 	 and 	 which	 were	 the 	 Left	 parties?	 Where	
would	you	 place	the	 Congress 	party	 of 	that 	time? 	
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 4


 
In this chapter…
In the last two chapters we have studied how the leaders of independent 
India responded to the challenges of nation-building and establishing 
democracy. Let us now turn to the third challenge, that of economic 
development to ensure well-being of all. As in the case of the first two 
challenges, our leaders chose a path that was different and difficult. In 
this case their success was much more limited, for this challenge was 
tougher and more enduring.
In this chapter, we study the story of political choices involved in some 
of the key questions of economic development. 
•	 What 	were	 the	key	 choices	and	debates 	about	development?
•	 Which	strategy	was	 adopted 	 by	our	leaders	in 	the	first	two		 	 	
	 decades? 	And	why?
•	 What 	were	 the	main	achievements 	and	limitations	of	this	strategy?
•	 Why	 was	this	 development 	strategy 	abandoned	in	later	years?
Stamps like these, 
issued mostly between 
1955 and 1968, 
depicted a vision of 
planned development. 
Left to right, top to 
bottom: Damodar 
Valley, Bhakra 
Dam, Chittaranjan 
Locomotives, Gauhati 
Refinery, Tractor, Sindri 
Fertilisers, Bhakra Dam, 
Electric Train, Wheat 
Revolution, Hirakud 
Dam, Hindustan Aircraft 
Factory 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
3
chapter
pOLItIcS OF pLaNNeD 
DeVeLOpMeNt
As the global demand for steel increases, Orissa, which has one of 
the largest reserves of untapped iron ore in the country, is being 
seen as an important investment destination. The State government 
hopes to cash in on this unprecedented demand for iron ore and 
has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both 
international and domestic steel makers. The government believes 
that this would bring in necessary capital investment and proivde a 
lot of employment opportunities. The iron ore resources lie in some 
of the most underdeveloped and predominantly tribal districts of the 
state. The tribal population fears that the setting up of industries 
would mean displacement from their home and livelihood. The 
environmentalists fear that mining and industry would 
pollute the environment. The central government feels 
that if the industry is not allowed it would set a bad 
example and discourage investments in the country.
Can you identify the various interests involved in this 
case? What are their key points of conflict? Do you think 
there are any common points on which everyone can 
agree? Can this issue be resolved in a way which satisfies 
all the various interests? As you ask these questions, you 
would find yourself facing yet bigger questions. What 
kind of development does Orissa need? Indeed, whose 
need can be called Orissa’s need? 
Political contestation
These questions cannot be answered by an expert. 
Decisions of this kind involve weighing the interests of 
one social group against another, present generation 
against future generations. In a democracy such major 
decisions should be taken or at least approved by the 
people themselves.  It is important to take advice from 
experts on mining, from environmentalists and from 
economists. Yet the final decision must be a political 
decision, taken by people’s representatives who are in 
touch with the feelings of the people. 
After Independence our country had to make a series 
of major decisions like this. Each of these decisions 
could not be made independent of other such decisions. 
All these decisions were bound together by a shared 
vision or model of economic development. Almost 
Orissa villagers protest 
against POSCO plant 
Staff Reporter 
BHUBANESWAR: People facing 
displacement by the proposed 
POSCO-India steel plant in 
Jagatsinghpur district staged 
a demonstration outside the 
Korean company’s office here on 
Thursday. They were demanding 
cancellation of the memorandum of 
understanding signed between the 
company and the Orissa government 
one year ago. 
More than 100 men and women 
from the gram panchayats of 
Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujanga 
tried to enter the office premises 
but the police prevented them. 
Raising slogans, the protesters 
said the company should not be 
allowed to set up its plant at the cost 
of their lives and livelihood. The 
demonstration was organised by the 
Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan and the 
Nabanirman Samiti. 
The Hindu, 23 June 2006
2015-16(21/01/2015)
48                                                                   Politics in India since Independence
I thought the 
connection was simpler! 
All big decisions involve 
big money and that is 
why politicians take 
these decisions.
everyone agreed that the development 
of India should mean both economic 
growth and social and economic 
justice. It was also agreed that this 
matter cannot be left to businessmen, 
industrialists and farmers themselves, 
that the government should play a key 
role in this. There was disagreement, 
however, on the kind of role that the 
government must play in ensuring 
growth with justice. Was it necessary 
to have a centralised institution to 
plan for the entire country? Should 
the government itself run some key 
industries and business? How much 
importance was to be attached to the 
needs of justice if it differed from the 
requirements of economic growth? 
Each of these questions involved 
contestation which has continued ever 
since. Each of the decision had political 
consequence. Most of these issues involved political judgement and 
required consultations among political parties and approval of the 
public. That is why we need to study the process of development as a 
part of the history of politics in India.    
Ideas of development
Very often this contestation involves the very idea of development. The 
example of Orissa shows us that it is not enough to say that everyone 
wants development. For ‘development’ has different meanings for 
different sections of the people. Development would mean different 
things for example, to an industrialist who is planning to set up a 
steel plant, to an urban consumer of steel and to the Adivasi who 
lives in that region.  Thus any discussion on development is bound to 
generate contradictions, conflicts and debates. 
The first decade after Independence witnessed a lot of debate around 
this question. It was common then, as it is even now, for people to refer 
to the ‘West’  as the standard for measuring development. ‘Development’ 
was about becoming more ‘modern’ and modern was about becoming 
more like the industrialised countries of the West. This is how common 
people as well as the experts thought.  It was believed that every country 
would go through the process of modernisation as in the West, which 
involved the breakdown of traditional social structures and the rise 
of capitalism and liberalism. Modernisation was also associated with 
the ideas of growth, material progress and scientific rationality.  This 
kind of idea of development allowed everyone to talk about different 
countries as developed, developing or underdeveloped. 
What is Left and what is Right?
In the politics of most countries, you will always 
come across references to parties and groups  
with a Left or r ight  ideology or leaning. These terms 
characterise the position of the concerned groups or 
parties regarding social change and role of the state 
in effecting economic redistribution. Left often refers 
to those who are in favour of the poor, downtrodden 
sections and support government policies for the 
benefit of these sections. The r ight refers to those 
who believe that free competition and market economy 
alone ensure progress and that the government should 
not unnecessarily intervene in the economy. 
Can you tell which of the parties in the 1960s were 
Rightist 	 and 	 which	 were	 the 	 Left	 parties?	 Where	
would	you	 place	the	 Congress 	party	 of 	that 	time? 	
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Politics of Planned Development                                                                           49  
On the eve of Independence, India had before it, two models 
of modern development: the liberal-capitalist model as in much of 
Europe and the US and the socialist model as in the USSR. You have 
already studied these two ideologies and read about the ‘cold war’ 
between the two super powers. There were many in India then who 
were deeply impressed by the Soviet model of development. These 
included not just the leaders of the Communist Party of India, but 
also those of the Socialist Party and leaders like Nehru within the 
Congress. There were very few supporters of the American style 
capitalist development. 
This reflected a broad consensus that had developed during 
the national movement.  The nationalist leaders were clear that the 
economic concerns of the government of free India would  have to 
be different from the narrowly defined commercial functions of the 
colonial government. It was clear, moreover, that the task of poverty 
alleviation and social and economic redistribution was being seen 
primarily as the responsibility of the government.    There were debates 
among them. For some, industrialisation seemed to be the preferred 
path.  For others, the development of agriculture and in particular 
alleviation of rural poverty was the priority. 
Planning
Despite the various differences, there was a consensus on one point: 
that development could not be left to private actors, that there was the 
need for the government to develop a design or plan for development. 
In fact the idea of planning as a process of rebuilding economy earned 
a good deal of public support in the 1940s and 1950s all over the 
world. The experience of Great Depression in Europe, the inter-war 
Are you saying 
we don’t have 
to be western 
in order to be 
modern? Is that 
possible?
Credit: Hindustan Times
Nehru 
addressing 
the staff of 
the Planning 
Commission
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 5


 
In this chapter…
In the last two chapters we have studied how the leaders of independent 
India responded to the challenges of nation-building and establishing 
democracy. Let us now turn to the third challenge, that of economic 
development to ensure well-being of all. As in the case of the first two 
challenges, our leaders chose a path that was different and difficult. In 
this case their success was much more limited, for this challenge was 
tougher and more enduring.
In this chapter, we study the story of political choices involved in some 
of the key questions of economic development. 
•	 What 	were	 the	key	 choices	and	debates 	about	development?
•	 Which	strategy	was	 adopted 	 by	our	leaders	in 	the	first	two		 	 	
	 decades? 	And	why?
•	 What 	were	 the	main	achievements 	and	limitations	of	this	strategy?
•	 Why	 was	this	 development 	strategy 	abandoned	in	later	years?
Stamps like these, 
issued mostly between 
1955 and 1968, 
depicted a vision of 
planned development. 
Left to right, top to 
bottom: Damodar 
Valley, Bhakra 
Dam, Chittaranjan 
Locomotives, Gauhati 
Refinery, Tractor, Sindri 
Fertilisers, Bhakra Dam, 
Electric Train, Wheat 
Revolution, Hirakud 
Dam, Hindustan Aircraft 
Factory 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
3
chapter
pOLItIcS OF pLaNNeD 
DeVeLOpMeNt
As the global demand for steel increases, Orissa, which has one of 
the largest reserves of untapped iron ore in the country, is being 
seen as an important investment destination. The State government 
hopes to cash in on this unprecedented demand for iron ore and 
has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both 
international and domestic steel makers. The government believes 
that this would bring in necessary capital investment and proivde a 
lot of employment opportunities. The iron ore resources lie in some 
of the most underdeveloped and predominantly tribal districts of the 
state. The tribal population fears that the setting up of industries 
would mean displacement from their home and livelihood. The 
environmentalists fear that mining and industry would 
pollute the environment. The central government feels 
that if the industry is not allowed it would set a bad 
example and discourage investments in the country.
Can you identify the various interests involved in this 
case? What are their key points of conflict? Do you think 
there are any common points on which everyone can 
agree? Can this issue be resolved in a way which satisfies 
all the various interests? As you ask these questions, you 
would find yourself facing yet bigger questions. What 
kind of development does Orissa need? Indeed, whose 
need can be called Orissa’s need? 
Political contestation
These questions cannot be answered by an expert. 
Decisions of this kind involve weighing the interests of 
one social group against another, present generation 
against future generations. In a democracy such major 
decisions should be taken or at least approved by the 
people themselves.  It is important to take advice from 
experts on mining, from environmentalists and from 
economists. Yet the final decision must be a political 
decision, taken by people’s representatives who are in 
touch with the feelings of the people. 
After Independence our country had to make a series 
of major decisions like this. Each of these decisions 
could not be made independent of other such decisions. 
All these decisions were bound together by a shared 
vision or model of economic development. Almost 
Orissa villagers protest 
against POSCO plant 
Staff Reporter 
BHUBANESWAR: People facing 
displacement by the proposed 
POSCO-India steel plant in 
Jagatsinghpur district staged 
a demonstration outside the 
Korean company’s office here on 
Thursday. They were demanding 
cancellation of the memorandum of 
understanding signed between the 
company and the Orissa government 
one year ago. 
More than 100 men and women 
from the gram panchayats of 
Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujanga 
tried to enter the office premises 
but the police prevented them. 
Raising slogans, the protesters 
said the company should not be 
allowed to set up its plant at the cost 
of their lives and livelihood. The 
demonstration was organised by the 
Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan and the 
Nabanirman Samiti. 
The Hindu, 23 June 2006
2015-16(21/01/2015)
48                                                                   Politics in India since Independence
I thought the 
connection was simpler! 
All big decisions involve 
big money and that is 
why politicians take 
these decisions.
everyone agreed that the development 
of India should mean both economic 
growth and social and economic 
justice. It was also agreed that this 
matter cannot be left to businessmen, 
industrialists and farmers themselves, 
that the government should play a key 
role in this. There was disagreement, 
however, on the kind of role that the 
government must play in ensuring 
growth with justice. Was it necessary 
to have a centralised institution to 
plan for the entire country? Should 
the government itself run some key 
industries and business? How much 
importance was to be attached to the 
needs of justice if it differed from the 
requirements of economic growth? 
Each of these questions involved 
contestation which has continued ever 
since. Each of the decision had political 
consequence. Most of these issues involved political judgement and 
required consultations among political parties and approval of the 
public. That is why we need to study the process of development as a 
part of the history of politics in India.    
Ideas of development
Very often this contestation involves the very idea of development. The 
example of Orissa shows us that it is not enough to say that everyone 
wants development. For ‘development’ has different meanings for 
different sections of the people. Development would mean different 
things for example, to an industrialist who is planning to set up a 
steel plant, to an urban consumer of steel and to the Adivasi who 
lives in that region.  Thus any discussion on development is bound to 
generate contradictions, conflicts and debates. 
The first decade after Independence witnessed a lot of debate around 
this question. It was common then, as it is even now, for people to refer 
to the ‘West’  as the standard for measuring development. ‘Development’ 
was about becoming more ‘modern’ and modern was about becoming 
more like the industrialised countries of the West. This is how common 
people as well as the experts thought.  It was believed that every country 
would go through the process of modernisation as in the West, which 
involved the breakdown of traditional social structures and the rise 
of capitalism and liberalism. Modernisation was also associated with 
the ideas of growth, material progress and scientific rationality.  This 
kind of idea of development allowed everyone to talk about different 
countries as developed, developing or underdeveloped. 
What is Left and what is Right?
In the politics of most countries, you will always 
come across references to parties and groups  
with a Left or r ight  ideology or leaning. These terms 
characterise the position of the concerned groups or 
parties regarding social change and role of the state 
in effecting economic redistribution. Left often refers 
to those who are in favour of the poor, downtrodden 
sections and support government policies for the 
benefit of these sections. The r ight refers to those 
who believe that free competition and market economy 
alone ensure progress and that the government should 
not unnecessarily intervene in the economy. 
Can you tell which of the parties in the 1960s were 
Rightist 	 and 	 which	 were	 the 	 Left	 parties?	 Where	
would	you	 place	the	 Congress 	party	 of 	that 	time? 	
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Politics of Planned Development                                                                           49  
On the eve of Independence, India had before it, two models 
of modern development: the liberal-capitalist model as in much of 
Europe and the US and the socialist model as in the USSR. You have 
already studied these two ideologies and read about the ‘cold war’ 
between the two super powers. There were many in India then who 
were deeply impressed by the Soviet model of development. These 
included not just the leaders of the Communist Party of India, but 
also those of the Socialist Party and leaders like Nehru within the 
Congress. There were very few supporters of the American style 
capitalist development. 
This reflected a broad consensus that had developed during 
the national movement.  The nationalist leaders were clear that the 
economic concerns of the government of free India would  have to 
be different from the narrowly defined commercial functions of the 
colonial government. It was clear, moreover, that the task of poverty 
alleviation and social and economic redistribution was being seen 
primarily as the responsibility of the government.    There were debates 
among them. For some, industrialisation seemed to be the preferred 
path.  For others, the development of agriculture and in particular 
alleviation of rural poverty was the priority. 
Planning
Despite the various differences, there was a consensus on one point: 
that development could not be left to private actors, that there was the 
need for the government to develop a design or plan for development. 
In fact the idea of planning as a process of rebuilding economy earned 
a good deal of public support in the 1940s and 1950s all over the 
world. The experience of Great Depression in Europe, the inter-war 
Are you saying 
we don’t have 
to be western 
in order to be 
modern? Is that 
possible?
Credit: Hindustan Times
Nehru 
addressing 
the staff of 
the Planning 
Commission
2015-16(21/01/2015)
50                                                                   Politics in India since Independence
Planning Commission
Do you recall any reference to the Planning Commission in your book 
Constitution at Work	 last	 year?	 Actually	 there	 was	 none, 	 for	 the	 Planning	
Commission is not one of the many commissions and other bodies set up by 
the Constitution. The Planning Commission was set up in March, 1950 by a 
simple resolution of the Government of India. It has an advisory role and its 
recommendations become effective only when the Union Cabinet approved 
these. The resolution which set up the Commission defined the scope of its 
work in the following terms :
“The Constitution of India has guaranteed certain Fundamental r ights to the 
citizens of India and enunciated certain Directive Principles of State Policy, 
in particular, that the State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people 
by securing and protecting….a social order in which justice, social, economic 
and political, shall ……..  …. direct its policy towards securing, among other 
things,
(a) that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an    
 adequate means of livelihood ; 
(b) that the ownership and control of the material resources of the    
 community  are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;   
 and 
(c) that the operation of the economic system does not result in 
the  concentration of wealth and means of production to the common 
detriment.
I wonder if the Planning 
Commission has 
actually followed these 
objectives in practice.
Credit:Ninan 
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Read More
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