lannin in ndia          5.13
               Minister of Planning is already an ex-                   functions of the Pc
               officio member of the PC.47
                                                                        Though the PC was set up with a definite
         (v)   An autonomous body entitled to form its                  purpose of planning, nobody knew that it would
               own views on important issues and place                  extend its functions over the entire spectrum of
               them before the governments. It worked                   administration in the country. It was described as
               closely with the Union and State cabinets                the ‘economic Cabinet of the country as a whole’
               and had full knowledge of their policies.                even encroaching upon the constitutional body
        (vi)   Was invariably consulted on changes                      like the Finance Commission50 and not being
               proposed in social and economic policies.                accountable to the Parliament.51 Through time
               To ensure free and full exchange of ideas,               it built up a heavy bureaucratic organisation52
               the PC had established a convention that                 which led even Nehru himself to observe—“The
               it will not give publicity to differences of             Commission which was a small body of serious
               views between the Commission and the                     thinkers has turned into a government department
               Union and State governments.                             complete with a crowd of secretaries, directors and
       (vii)   Linked with the Union Cabinet at the                     of course a big building.”53
               secretariat level. The PC was part of the                      Though the functions of the PC were extended
               Cabinet organisation and the ‘demand for                 to include timely changes in the planning needs
               grants’ for it was included in the budget                (in the reforms era), its functions were announced
               demand for the Cabinet Secretariat.                      by the same government order which did set up
      (viii)   Seated at the ‘Yojana Bhavan’, the                       the Planning Commission. The order54 says:
               Commission had a staff of secretaries and
                                                                             “The Planning Commission will—
               advisers and also a research organisation.48
                                                                              (i) Make an assessment of the material,
        (ix)   The PC was a technical body with experts
                                                                                    capital and human resources of the
               and professionals coming from an array of
                                                                                    country, including technical personnel,
               specific areas as per the need of planning
                                                                                    and investigate the possibilities of
               of the concerned period (see footnote
                                                                                    augmenting such of those resources as are
         (x)   The Commission had executive powers.49                     50.    Rajamannar was the Chairman of the Fourth Finance
                                                                                 Commission. See Ministry of Finance Report of the
      47.   There was a provision of only three Cabinet Ministers                Fourth Finance Commission (New Delhi: Government
            as its ex-officio members namely the Finance, Human                  of India, 1965) pp. 88–90.
            Resource Development and Defence upto July 2004               51.    By the 1950s it was a general criticism of the PC
            when the United Progressive Alliance Government                      which looked highly logical. But through the entire
            increased it to include the other three Cabinet Ministers,           period of planning the Government never did think to
            viz., the Railways, Agriculture and Information                      convert the PC into a constitutional body. Practically
            Technology. It has been only once in the history of the              enough, the Union Cabinet and the whole Government
            PC that it had six Ca inet inisters as its ex officio                is accountable to the Parliament for the functions of
            mem ers, i.e., in the final years of the a iv andhi                  the PC as it has complete mandate and support of the
            regime (The Economic Times, 16 July 2004, N. Delhi                   governments of the time.
            Edition).                                                     52.    Appleby, Public Administration in India: Report of A
      48.   Publications Division, Gazetteer of India, p. 11.                    Survey, Ford Foundation, 1953, p. 22.
      49.   Prima facie a body should have been either constitutional     53.    As quoted in D.D. Basu, An Introduction to the
            or statutory to wield the executive powers, but as a number          Constitution of India (New Delhi: Wadhwa & Company,
            of Cabinet Ministers as well as the PM himself were                  1999), p. 330.
            directly involved with the PC, it used to wield executive     54.    Publication Division, The Gazetteer of India, Vol. 3,
            powers for all practical purposes.                                   op.cit., pp.10–11.