In this essay we will discuss about Decentralised Planning in India. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Introduction to Decentralised Planning in India 2. Importance of Decentralised Planning in India 3. Objectives 4. Performance.


  1. Essay on the Introduction to Decentralised Planning in India
  2. Essay on the Importance of Decentralised Planning in India
  3. Essay on the Objectives of Decentralised Planning
  4. Essay on the Performance of Decentralised Planning in India

Essay # 1. Introduction to Decentralised Planning in India:

Decentralised planning is a kind of percolation of planning activities or 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 decentralised planning was emphasised in order to achieve active people’s participation in the planning process.

In 1957, the Government appointed Balwant Rai Mehta Committee which recommended constitution of elected statutory local bodies with its required resources, power and authority along with a decentralised administrative system operating under its control. Accordingly, the Panchayati Raj System was introduced in India.


Since then the process of decentralisation 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. Dantewala 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 Decentralisation 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 decentralised planning under the Seventh Plan.

Accordingly, the Planning Commission of India introduced the decentralised planning in the country for the first time during the Seventh Plan. From the very beginning, India has adopted the system of centralised planning with little variation.

But with the passage of time there has been radical departure in the planning process in India from a centralised to a decentralised one where the decision making in the planning process has been reversed from top-to-bottom type to a system of bottom-to-top type.


Thus the decentralised 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 decentralised planning emphasis has been given on the introduction of district planning, sub-divisional planning and block-level planning so as to reach finally the village level planning successfully.

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 now being observed that this type of centralised planning process is not at all conducive to optimum utilisation of plan resources.

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

Accordingly, in order to conduct the planning activities at the sub-divisional level, the Sub­division Planning and Development Council was formed in every sub-division of some states with public representatives from different levels.


This council prepares various developmental plans for agriculture, irrigation, elementary education, road building, social afforestation, fishery, industrialisation, community development etc. of different sub-divisions of various states. These Councils are then 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.

Decentralised planning is very much important in a country like India, where majority of our population live in rural areas. These types of plans raise the involvement of the people in implementing the plan.

Moreover, decentralised planning is being prepared in the light of local problems and on the basis of local resources potential. Thus under the present economic scenario, the decentralised planning is considered as most important strategy in respect of planning for economic development.

Essay # 2. Importance of Decentralised Planning in India:

Following are some of the important functional factors responsible for adoption of decentralised planning in the present context in India:

(i) Better Linkages between the Villages and Small Towns:

Considering the huge size and proportion of rural population in India, it is felt that proper linkages must be established between dispersed small villages and also between such villages and adjacent small towns by developing appropriate infrastructural facilities such as feeder roads, improved transport facilities, marketing and storage facilities, health and sanitation facilities and other welfare centres. Under decentralised planning better linkages between villages and small towns can be developed under local conditions, priorities and resources.

(ii) Planning Becomes Realistic and Flexible:

Decentralised planning is considered as more realistic as it maintains a close coordination between locally available resources, local skills, local manpower and local requirements. It is considered as a flexible one as it is easily adjustable and adaptable under the changing local conditions and requirements.

Moreover, it is considered as the practical one as it can fulfill the normal requirements of the rural population. Adaptation and flexibility of planning largely depends upon the environment prevailing in each region and sub-region. Thus decentralised planning can achieve the best result in implementing plan projects at the local level.

(iii) Development of Agriculture:

Decentralised planning is suitable for the development of agricultural and allied activities such as animal husbandry, horticulture, fisheries, forestry along with development of village and cottage industries.

(iv) Promote People’s Participation:

Decentralised planning can promote active participation of local people in implementing various local plans and programmes. Thus it can enhance the involvement of local communities in such development activities.

(v) Minimising Wastage of Resources:


Under decentralised planning, wastage of resources can be reduced to a minimum level as the people participating in these developmental activities keep a close watch over the utilisation of fund as well also on the implementation of plan projects.

(vi) Trickle Down Effects:

Decentralised planning can show more trickle down or percolation effects in respect of poverty alleviation programmes and employment generation in rural areas as in this type of planning, various projects are selected for generating huge productive employment opportunities in the rural areas.

Moreover, this can help in building up of various types of community assets, viz., panchayat house, village roads, schools, tanks etc. which can supplement rural income and also can enhance the levels of living of the rural people.

(vii) Social Services:

Decentralised planning is helpful in raising the level of social services by launching various programmes of health, nutrition, drinking water, education etc. in a more effective, quicker and sustainable manner.

(viii) Use of Non-conventional Energy Sources:


Decentralised planning is more helpful in utilizing the various non-conventional energy sources such as solar power, wind, animal and plant wastes etc. in rural areas. Such utilisation of non-conventional energy sources requires various agencies which can work in close association with communities in villages and small towns and also can provide necessary technical and financial support from such agencies. Decentralised planning can pave the way for utilisation of such resources.

(ix) Simple Planning Process:

Decentralised planning process is more simple and transparent and thus it has a close link with democracy, co-operation and development. It has a vast scope for the active involvement of political and social forces at the appropriate level.

Essay # 3. Objectives of Decentralised Planning:

Decentralised planning is introduced in India with certain definite objectives.

Following are the three important objectives of decentralised planning:


1. Effective implementation of poverty eradication programme;

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

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

Thus the main objective of the decentralised planning is to attain balanced development throughout the country with active participation of the people and to eradicate poverty.

Essay # 4. Performance of Decentralised Planning in India:

In India, the process of decentralized planning and its performance is depending upon the activities of Panchayati Raj Institutions established at the district, block and village levels. At the district level there are Zila Parishads or Councils, at the block level there are Panchayat Samitis and at the village level a number of Gram Pachayats are working for the implementation of various plan projects.

In India, under decentralised planning, plans are formulated at the grass root level with the help of elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions, state administration at the district and block levels and financial institutions. In order to have a successful decentralised planning, the planning machinery in the country must be suitably developed both at the district, sub-division and block level.


In India, various states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir etc. have already adopted decentralised planning seriously. But there are large deviation in respect of adoption of decentralised planning among the various states of the country.

While the bigger states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan could not achieve much success in respect of decentralised planning and states like Punjab and Haryana did not even feel necessity but the states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Assam and Karnataka have already adopted decentralised planning in a more vigorous manner.

Among these various states, the experiences of Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal and Karnataka in respect of decentralised planning are providing useful lessons to other states of the country. Moreover, effects of decentralised planning in West Bengal percolate to the village level. But the overall performance of decentralised planning in India is not at all commensurate to its expectations.

Causes of Dismal Performance of Decentralised Planning in India:

Following are some of important factors which are responsible for dismal performance of decentralised planning in India:

(i) Unsuccessful Land Reforms:

The success of decentralised planning depends much on the implementation of land reform measures viz., imposition of land ceiling and the redistribution of surplus lands, tenancy reforms, consolidation of holdings etc.


Under the semi-feudal conditions, land reforms in India could not be carried upon as per its true spirit. The Panchayati Raj institutions are dominated by landed interests and naturally they failed to show much interest in the implementation of beneficiary oriented programmes in rural areas of the country.

(ii) Lack of Proper Administrative Bodies:

In India, decentralised planning could not achieve much success due to lack of adequate administrative bodies at the local level for the implementation of its various programmes. Till today, various state governments failed to develop proper administrative bodies at the district and block level representing the local people having adequate norms.

(iii) Lack of Adequate Resource Transfer:

The government machinery has also failed to develop adequate managerial structures for also to finalize the modalities of decentralised planning in detailed form.

(iv) Ad-Hocism:


State governments are often following the path of ad-hocism as the regular elections of village panchayats and other local bodies are not being held. Thus the decentralised planning has not became effective and thus failed to become a powerful instrument of social change in India.

(v) Absence of Effective Organization:

In the absence of effective organisation of marginal and small farmers, agricultural labourers, artisans, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward sections, there is no proper representation of these sections in the local bodies for serving their economic interests.

(vi) Regional Disparities:

Various states of India adopting decentralised planning could not make much headway in reducing regional disparities in respect of development. Among various states, disparities have been accentuated in respect of Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh, Maratha Wada and Vidarbha in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Northern parts of West Bengal etc.

District planning machineries have failed to stem the problem of regional backwardness in various states. This has raised a disincentive factor against the popularity of decentralised planning among the non-implementing states.


(vii) Use of Inferior Resources:

In the rural area, superior resources are under the effective control of elite section of rural society and the productive resources like forests, minerals etc. are also under the control of rich urban located groups having adequate financial resources.

Thus under such circumstances, decentralised planning machinery has been dealing with inferior type of resources having low potential return factor. Thus due to its involvement with inferior resources only, the performance of decentralised planning as an instrument of development and change is not at all satisfactory.

Thus in India, decentralised planning has shown dismal performance due to these above mentioned factors.

Improving Performance of Decentralised Planning in India:

In India, economists, social scientists and political thinkers consider the decentralised planning as the sole machinery for the control and solution of country’s serious economic problems like poor growth rate, poverty, inequality, unemployment, unbalanced growth, regional inequalities etc. During the last forty years of centralised planning, the country has failed to tackle all these economic problems in appropriate manner.

Thus, in order to tackle these problems effectively, the planning process in India should be decentralised at the grass root or local level in an appropriate manner. Although the Seventh Plan has introduced the decentralised planning process in a serious manner but the Eighth Plan (1992-97) has given special emphasis on the decentralised planning process for local area planning.

Following are some of important measures which are to be adopted for the improvement of performance of decentralised planning in India:

1. Panchayati Raj Institutions of the country should be strengthened for the effective implementation of decentralised planning.

2. Proper organisations of marginal and small farmers, landless agricultural labourers, artisans, scheduled castes and scheduled tribe community and other backward classes should be developed for their proper representation in local bodies.

3. Land reforms and other institutional reforms must be introduced for the successful implementation of decentralised planning in India.

4. For wiping out regional disparities in respect of economic development, decentralised planning should be adopted simultaneously among all the states of the country. In order to have a proper shift from centralised planning process to decentralised planning process, the country should adopt a uniform policy throughout the country.

5. State governments should make necessary arrangement for devaluation of funds in adequate quantity for Panchayati Raj Institutions along with mobilisation of local private capital.

6. In order to have successful implementation of decentralised planning at the district level, district planning bodies should be formed taking various experts from different discipline like economies, agriculture, statistics, banking, sociology, animal husbandry etc.

7. In order to have successful implementation of decentralised planning, modalities of its implementation have to be sorted out systematically. Role of such agencies and functionaries needs to be clearly defined and demarcated.

Moreover, government administrative machinery, elected people’s representatives and banks should co-operate effectively for proper implementation of decentralised planning in India. Thus, in order to have proper implementation of economic planning, decentralisation of the planning process throughout the country is the need of the hour.