vol tion o the ndian       onom         3.9
     this stage, to be utilised for investment along new            private sector in the economy. In a sense, India was
     lines rather than in acquisition of existing productive        increasingly getting more dependent on the latter
     capacity. Public ownership of the means of production          for the promotion of growth and development.
     may be necessary in certain cases; public regulation                By early 2015, we saw some major changes
     and control in certain others. The private sector has,         taking place in the area of planning in India.
     however, to continue to play an important part in              The Government replaced the existing body,
     production as well as in distribution. Planning under          Planning Commission, with the NITI Aayog (a
     recent conditions thus means, in practice, an economy          new economic ‘Think Tank’), with the aim of
     guided and directed by the state and operated partly           ‘overhauling’ the very process and method of
     through direct state action and partly through private
                                                                    planning in the country. This move is believed to
     initiative and effort.”18 the above-quoted lines are
                                                                    originate out of India’s experiences of development
     imaginatively ahead of the times. It will be suitable
                                                                    planning spanning over six decades. Co-operative
     to note here that as 1950s and 1960s made the
                                                                    federalism, bottom-up approach, holistic and
     world experts favour state intervention in the
                                                                    inclusive development with the need of an Indian
     economy, the East Asian Miracle19 of the coming
                                                                    model of development are some of the hallmarks
     three decades was going to define the very limits
     of such an intervention. The East Asian economies              of the new design. The move is also seen in light
     were able to sustain a high growth rate over three             of the changed needs of the economy.
     decades and had revived again the discussions
     regarding the respective roles of the state and the               emPhasis on The PuBlic secTor
     market as well as the nature of the state’s role in            The state was to be given an active and dominant
     the economy. The kind of conclusions drawn were
                                                                    role in the economy, it was very much decided by
     very similar to the view presented in India’s First
                                                                    the time India became independent. There were
     Plan itself which was presented by the World
                                                                    no doubts about it in the minds of the people who
     Bank in 1993.
                                                                    formed the dominant political force at the time.
          The real nature of the Indian brand of mixed              Naturally, there was going to be a giant structure
     economy, though beautifully outlined in 1951                   of the government-controlled enterprises to be
     itself, went through a process of detailed evolution
                                                                    known as the public sector undertakings (PSUs).
     in the decade of the 1950s.20 By the end of the
                                                                    Criticism aside, there were at that time, a strong
     1950s, the concept of the mixed economy was
                                                                    logic behind the glorification of PSUs. Some of the
     almost buried and rose from hibernation only by
                                                                    reasons for heavy investments in the PSUs were
     mid-1980s and finally early in 1990s, in the wake
                                                                    purely natural while others were consequential in
     of the process of economic reforms.
                                                                    nature. There were certain highly commendable
          We see the government modifying the
                                                                    objectives set for them, some other goals would go
     process of planning and functions of the Planning
                                                                    on to serve the very soul of the mixed economy.
     Commission in wake of the reform process—an
                                                                    We must go for an impartial and rational analysis
     attempt to redefine the roles of government and
                                                                    of the matter, in the midst of all the criticism of
       18.   Planning Commission, The First Five Year Plan: A       PSUs and the contemporary moves of privatising
             Draft Outline, GoI, New Delhi, 1951.                   them, to understand their roles in the Indian
       19.   The East Asian Miracle, World Bank, Washington
             D.C, 1993.
                                                                    economy. We may understand the reasons behind
       20.   We see the process of evolution specially in the       the ambitious expansion of the PSUs in the face of
             industrial policies, India pursued since 1948 to 1956. the following major requirements.