Source: NDTV Profit, March 15, 2013
The Planning Commission, along with the National Innovation Council, today hosted its first Google Hangout on the 12th Five-Year Plan. The hour-long session was attended by Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Innovation Council, and Planning Commission members B.K. Chaturvedi, Saumitra Chaudhuri, Syeda Hameed, Narendra Jadhav, Arun Maira, Abhijit Sen and Sindhushree Khullar. The Hangout was being moderated by Vikram Chandra.
Here are the highlights:
Montek Singh Ahluwalia
People have a wrong idea of what the Planning Commission does It is not a top-down approach at the Planning Commission Someone needs to plan the sectoral targets to meet the needs We lay down what the government has to do and what the private has to do We are the only body in the government that looks at what's needed by the states 75% of all the investment is done by the private sector These investments are not subject to the government's approval It is dependent on the government policies The ministries has a narrow view of what is happening in that particular sector Planning Commission has to see what impact each policy has on the other ministries I don't think an annual report card of the Plan makes sense, but we do make an assessment after 2 years, 6 months. We don't have an annual report as the Budget does that. You know as far as the 11th plan is concerned, the 12th plan gives a clear assessment of that plan. I agree that planning and implementing should be participative. But the participation should start from the Panchayat level. Social stakeholders should start participating. It should not be left only to the Centre to make the process more participative. The 12th Plan gives more emphasis to water than any other plan. We have concentrated on water conservation along with irrigation.
To citizens of this country, Five-Year Plan is some ambiguous plan of development. Can Planning Commission present an annual report so that we can know which plan is working, what is not working?
Keeping in mind the conditions of education in rural areas, special attention is being paid to it in the 12th Plan Vocational guidance, skill development are being looked at in the 12th Plan
In villages, people complain about teachers and doctors not being there. Internet with change all this. It will improve access and accountability Building a nation is very different from building a company Nation-building requires a lot of patience, a lot of collaboration...in our country we do not have any collaboration
Backward states get special funds. Any Central fund that states receive is at the end of the day managed by the state. Some states implement the schemes well and hence the schemes are successful in those states.
Would like to raise the issue of regional disparity. Large differences in various states of India. Let's take mid-day meals scheme. The scheme's success or failure is varied in various states. How does Planning Commission plan to deal with this imbalance?
We know that the ground water problem is getting worse, but sadly we do not know as much as we should know. In the 12th Plan we are concentrating on finding out more details about water levels and what affects them.