Decentralised planning or micro level planning is a kind of percolation of planning activities. It is process from the centre to the sub-state levels, i.e. district, sub-division, block and village level.

Since the inception of First Plan, the importance of decentralized planning was emphasized in order to achieve active people’s participation in the planning process. The Government appointed the Balwant Raj Mehta team in 1957.

It recommended constitution of elected statutory local bodies with its required resources, power and authority along with a decentralized administrative system operating under its control. Accordingly, the Panchayati Raj System was introduced in the country.

Since then the process of decentralization in the planning and developmental activities was continued in 1969, the Planning Commission issued some guidelines on the introduction of district planning. Again in 1977 M.L. Dantwala working group recommended specific guidelines for the introduction of block-level planning. After that Ashok Mehta Committee has also submitted its report on Panchayati Raj in 1978.


Moreover, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister finally presented its report on Decentralization of Development Planning and its implementation in the states in 1983. Finally, in 1984, the Group on District Planning submitted its report and this was considered as the basis of proposals on decentralized planning or planning at micro level under the Seventh Plan.

Accordingly, the Planning Commission of India introduced the decentralization planning in the country for the first time during the Seventh Plan. From the very beginning, India has adopted the system of centralized planning with little variation. But with the passage of time there has been radical departure in the planning process in India from a centralized to a decentralized one where the decision making in the planning process has been reversed from the top to bottom type to a system of bottom-to-top type.

Thus the decentralized planning or the micro level planning is a kind of planning at the grass-root level or planning from below. Planning process in a country is having various tiers, viz., centre, state district, sub-division, block and village. Under this type of planning, emphasis has been given on the introduction of district planning, sub-divisional planning and block-level planning so that this type of planning may work at village level.

In India, Governmental activities are being performed right from the central to states and then to local, i.e. to the districts level (Zilla Parishads) taluk level (Panchayat Samities) and also to the village level. (Gram Panchayats). But it was felt in the mean while that this type of centralized planning process is not at all conductive to optimum utilization of plan resources.


Thus in order to get a better response, the Planning Commission of India introduced the decentralized planning since the Seventh Plan. Although in most of the states of India, the decentralized planning was extended to district level but in some small states like Assam, West Bengal etc. the same plan was decentralized up to sub-division level.

Accordingly, in order to conduct the planning activities at the sub-divisional level, the sub-division Planning and Development Council was formed at a every sub-division in some of the states with the public representative from the different levels. This council is preparing various developmental plans for agriculture, irrigation, elementary education, road building, social afforestation fishery, industrialisation, and community development etc. of different sub-division of various states.

This council is entrusted to submit the required estimates of developmental works of different departments and then prepare and implement sub-divisional plan as per the approved outlay. Decentralized planning or micro level planning is very much important in India, where majority of population live in rural areas. These type of planning raises the involvement of the people in implementing the plan.

Besides, decentralized planning is being prepared keeping in view local problems and on the basis of local resources potential. Thus under the present economic scenario, the decentralized planning is considered as the core strategy in respect of planning for economic development.


Objectives of Decentralized Planning:

Decentralized planning or planning at micro level is introduced with certain definite objectives in India.

The following are the important objectives of decentralized planning:

1. Effective implementation of poverty eradication programme;

2. Ensuring balanced regional development for meeting minimum needs of the people;

3. To ensure active public participation in the development process of different sectors.

4. To attain balanced development throughout the country with active participation of the people.