lannin in ndia              5.3
     Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI),                     conference of the Ministers of Industries of the
     the leading organisation of Indian capitalists. Its            Congress-ruled States (though other states were
     President N.R. Sarkar proclaimed that the days of              also invited to participate) where M. Visvesvaraya,
     undiluted laissez-faire were gone forever and for              J.R.D. Tata, G.D. Birla and Lala Sri Ram and
     a backward country like India, a comprehensive                 many others including academicians, technocrats,
     plan for economic development covering the                     provincial civil servants, trade unionists, socialists
     whole gamut of economic activities was a                       and communists, etc., were also invited. The
     necessity. Voicing the views of the capitalist class,          15-member NPC with 29 sub-committees and
     he further called for a high powered ‘National                 a total of 350 members produced 29 volumes of
     Planning Commission’ to coordinate the whole                   recommendations.10 The work of the committee
     process of planning so that the country could                  was interrupted when the Second World War
     make a structural break with the past and achieve              broke out and in the wake of the Quit India
     its full growth potential.7                                    Movement many of its members including the
           By the late nineteenth century, the economic             chairman were arrested, and between 1940 and
     thinking of the nationalists (such as M.G. Ranade              1945 the Committee had only a nominal existence.
     and Dadabhai Naroji) was in favour of a dominant               Though the final report of the NPC could only
     role of the state in the economy and doubted                   be published in 1949, many developments
     the prudence of the ‘market mechanism’. This                   related to planning took place during the Interim
     thinking was further reinforced by the Keynesian               Government upto 1946.
     ideas in the wake of the Great Depression, the
                                                                         “A series of valuable reports were published
     New Deal in the USA and the Soviet experiment in
                                                                    which brought together the constructive thinking
     national planning. Thus, the Indian capitalist class
                                                                    done by the committee and the sub-committees
     were also influenced by these events which were
                                                                    and the materials collected in the course of their
     voiced in the FICCI articulation for planning.
                                                                    work. The importance of the NPC lies not so
     the congress PlAn                                              much in these reports as in the wide interest it
                                                                    created throughout the country for co-ordinated
     Though the Gandhians and some of the business
                                                                    planning as the only means of bringing about a
     and propertied representatives were opposed to
                                                                    rapid increase in the standards of living and its
     commit the party to centralised state planning
                                                                    emphasis on the need for bringing fundamental
     (including Mahatma Gandhi),8 it was on the
                                                                    changes in the social and economic structure.”11
     initiative9 of the INC president Subhash C. Bose
     that the National Planning Committee (NPC) was                      Some of the important developments after the
     set up in October 1938 under the chairmanship                  NPC was set up which prepared a foundation for
     of J. L. Nehru to work out concrete programmes                 coordinated planning in Independent India are
     for development encompassing all major areas of                given below:
     the economy. Basically, the NPC was set up in a                      (i) Post War Reconstruction Committee:
                                                                                Early in June 1941, the Government
         7.  Bipan Chandra etal., India After Independence,
             1947–2000, (New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2000), p. 341.               of India formed (on popular demand)
         8.  A. Vaidyanathan. ‘The Indian Economy Since                         a Post-War Reconstruction Committee
             Independence (1947–70)’, in Dharma Kumar (ed),
             The Cambridge Economic History of India, Vol.II,         10.    Publications Division, The Gazetteer of India, Vol.3, (New
             (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 949.          Delhi: Government of India, 1975), p. 2.
         9.  Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, p. 360.                      11.    Ibid., pp. 2–3.