Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram today favoured downsizing of the Planning Commission amid reports that Narendra Modi government is likely to dismantle or at least drastically reduce the over-arching role of the plan body. "My personal view is that the Planning Commission should be a much more limited body tasked with drawing up prospective plans.
At the moment it is too big, flabby and unwieldy," Chidambaram, who is also senior spokesperson of Congress, said at the AICC briefing. He made the remarks while responding to a question about the new government's plan to prune the Planning Commission. Reports had it that the new government views that the Planning Commission is only adding to red tape and is essentially a creature of the old 'Licence Raj' and hence serves no useful purpose in the current liberalised economic scene.
Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his farewell speech, had called for a review of the planning body's role in an increasingly open economy. Ever since it was set up in 1950 by a Cabinet resolution to coordinate and allocate the government's resources efficiently, the Commission was often attacked as a bunch of "arm-chair advisors" who failed to capture the pulse of ground realities.