5.36        ndian   onom
     political reasons, enough discrepancies cropped                 of imbalanced growth. To tackle this
     up in the method of allocating funds to the states.             problem, the Centre is promoting the
     At the theoretical level, the governments knew                  states with lower, infrastructure so that
     the remedies, but at the practical levels politics              they can overcome the disadvantage.
     dominated the planning process. Democratic                      The process is slower, but at least the
     immaturity and politicisation of the planning                   government is addressing the issue,
     process is to be blamed for this.                               which is not less satisfying and there is
          Now things have changed for the better. The                no criticism to this strategy. Still balanced
     government is following a two-pronged strategy                  growth and development is going to be a
     to achieve the objective of a balanced growth and               great challenge for planning in India.
     development in the country:
          (i) Backward regions today are prioritised
                                                           3. highly centrAliseD nAture of PlAnning
              in directing the Central Government          Decentralising the process of planning has been
              investment (very much the same since         a major goal of the governments since the 1950s.
              the 1950s), but a new beginning in           But after Nehru, with every Plan we see greater
              the ‘differential development strategy’      tendency of centralisation in the planning process.
              has been made by the Centre with             Setting up of the NDC and promoting multi-level
              the Tenth Plan. Under this strategy,         planning (MLP) did not serve much purpose in
              the developmental constraints of             this direction. It has been among the criticised
              different states are to be tackled with      areas of planning in India as the National Planning
              a differentiation in the strategy. The       Committee as well as the First Plan itself had
              more needy states get more funds and         called for ‘democratic planning’ in the country.
              assistance from the Centre for their              By the mid-1980s, the mindset of the Centre
              planned development, cutting across the      went for a change and the need for decentralised
              political party lines (it is seen today as a planning got proper attention. Finally, by early
              symbol of political maturity on the issue    1990s two constitutional amendments (i.e.,
              of economic development, at least).          the 73rd and the 74th) promoted the cause of
         (ii) There is also a complementary strategy       decentralised planning by delegating constitutional
              of the planning to address the matter of     powers to the local bodies. With this, a new
              regional imbalance in the country. After     era of planning began, but still the planning of
              the country started the process of economic  local bodies is in a nascent stage due to lack of
              reforms, the nature of planning was to       proper financial provisions for them. Once the
              incline more and more towards indicative     financial provisions for local bodies are evolved
              planning. The economy was to be more         to the adequate level or the local bodies are given
              and more dependent on private sector         financial autonomy, the process of decentralised
              investment for its future development.       planning will surely get a new direction and
              And the private sector will be, naturally,   meaning, as the experts believe.
              more interested in investing in the               In the meantime, the Tenth Plan emphasised
              regions, which have better infrastructure    greater role for the states in the planning process.
              support. Since the developed regions         The Plan started a concerted effort to include
              have better infrastructure they will attract the states’ participation in the national planning
              the highest level of private investment,     process. The Centre is today more concerned
              which will again accelerate the process      about the developmental constraints of the states