1st Five Year Plan
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Introduction || APPENDIX (CH-4) || APPENDIX (CH-9) || ANNEXURE (CH-12) || APPENDIX (CH-14) || APPENDIX (CH-24) || APPENDIX (CH-29) || Conclusion
1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || 10 || 11 || 12 || 13 || 14 || 15 || 16 || 17 || 18 || 19 || 20 || 21 || 22 || 23 || 24 || 25 || 26 || 27 || 28 || 29 || 30 || 31 || 32 || 33 || 34 || 35 || 36 || 37 || 38 || 39

Chapter 8:

emocratic Planning

Public co-operation and public opinion constitute the principal force and sanction behind planning. A democracy working for social ends has to base itself on the willing assent of the people and not the coercive power of the State. This leads the application of the principle of co-operation in all phases of social activity and in all the functions which brirtg together individuals for the pursuit of common purposes. The people have to co-operate among themselves and with the various agencies responsible for the formulation and execution of the plan. In the way any programme is conceived, offered and carried out, action by the agencies of the government must be inspired by an understanding of the role of the people and supported by practical steps to enlist their enthusiastic participation. Where the administration and the people feel and act together the programme gains in vitality and significance.

2. The concept of planning has been associated largely with conditions in which a group has gathered in its hands all the power to control and regiment the life of the community and to command and direct its material and manpower resources. What is there in democracy to take the place of this unified direction and the force which will remove obstructions from the path of economic development along a set line ? Considering the way democracy works on the basis of fragmented authority and of parties with uncertain tenures, attempting to reconcile all kinds of contrary interests and purposes, no plan, it might appear, can proceed very far. Conditions have, however; developed in the world which make planning not only compatible with democracy, but essential for its very survival. A common social outlook which interprets progress in terms of .social justice and the economic and social well-being of the people is crystallizing among all who believe in democracy. In fact a major assumption which makes democratic planning real is confidence in the community that the national pla.i aims at achieving a social order in which economic ^disparities will be greatly reduced and an equal opportunity afforded to all; that no privilege, no interest is sought to be sustained, even for a period, except in the degree in which it fulfils a larger social purpose. This can furnish the ingredients of social cohesion within the community. We have thus before us here, a much wider view of public co-operation in which the interests of parties are relegated to the background and the common objectives of the nation regarded as a unity are the sole consideration. Certain elements may not agree with the Plan and the aspirations of a section may far exceed the level of achievement set as the target of the Plan for the first few years. But, if the direction of-idvance is in line with the expectations of the bulk of the people and the i ate of progress is not too slow, the essential pre-requisite for winning public co-operation will have been secured.

3. A widespread understanding of the Plan is an essential stage in its fulfilment. It will help large numbers of persons to appreciate the main lines on which development is expected to proceed over the next few years. They will be able to see how progress in different directions is inter-related and effort in one field strengthens as well as demands effort in other fields. An understanding of the priorities which govern the Plan will enable each person to relate his or her role to the larger purposes of the nation as a whole. The Plan has, therefore, to be carried into every home in the language and symbols of the people and expressed in terms of their common needs and problems. The part which the press can play in co-operation with the planning and executive authorities should be a matter of constant attention. Similarly, with the assistance of creative writers and artists, which has to be specially enlisted, public apathy and ignorance could be overcome and the Plan could be brought nearer to the average citizen. For this purpose it is essential to organise a programme of co-operative action in which the press, writers and artists, universities and educational institutions down to the village school and associations representing professional and other interests may work hand in hand with elected representatives of the people and with public servants throughout the country. All available methods of communication have to be developed and the people approached through the written and the spoken word no less than through radio, film, song and drama. Above all, steps have to be taken to provide literature and information for the people in simple language on a scale equal to the needs of the country.

4. While a general appreciation of national aims and programmes is essential, the average citizen is able to see more vividly and to contribute far more to work that lies near him or touches his life and well being more closely. It is, therefore, of the highest importance that the process of breaking up the National and State Plans into local units based on district, town and village, which has already been begun, should be completed speedily. It is only in terms of local programmes that local leadership and enthusiasm can play their part. The Plan can then become a medium and a focus of constructive activity in every part of the country and can be further strengthened and developed by the effort of the people themselves. Thus, the people become partners in the Plan, and are associated closely with its formulation as well as its implementation from stage to stage. If obstacles are encountered and things go wrong anywhere, it would be helpful in every sense if information is imparted candidly and the people are acquainted with the steps being taken to set things right. It is an error to belittle the capacity of the common man to find out and accept what is good for him.

Role Of The Administration

5. As has been stressed earlier, the quality of the administration is of the utmost consequence in relation to the possibilities of enlisting public co-operation. Lack of confidence in the integrity or capacity of the administrative machinery will undermine the foundations for the constructive use of the energy of the people. If at the level at which the citizen meets the administration, he encounters corruption, delay and inefficiency and if he finds no sign of effective steps against the anti-social elements who exploit the community and benefit themselves at its expense, it will become difficult to evoke enthusiasm and active support from the people. At the same time, organised public opinion, acting through appropriate channels, can itself become a healthy check and deterrent to evil doers in society as well as in administration and strengthen the hands of those who are working for higher standards and reform. It is in the nature of planned national development that the initiative and responsibility for enlisting the association and co-operation of the people should rest with the government and, in particular, with the public services. On account of circumstances which go back to the past, there is yet insufficient realization of the identity of aims between the people and the administration. This fact needs to be plainly recognised as an obstacle to be overcome. By approaching in people as comrades in the same cause, disclaiming privilege and status and eager to learn and to hsip, those engaged in administration can make an immense contribution towards creating the conditions in which public co-operation can grow.

6. The object of the proposals made in the earlier chapters in thiť part of the report has been to suggest a series of measures which, if implemented, could raise the quality of the administration to a level at which it would be legitimate to expect the public to be ready to offer co-operation in carrying out the various tasks and to bear the obligations which are inherent in planned economic development. On the part of the administration, efficiency and integrity are of course of the highest importance; equally, the relations between officials at different levels and the general public have considerable bearing on the response of the public. It is an essential rule in the code of a public servant, whatever his rank, to extend to every citizen courtesy and consideration and to inspire in him the confidence that so far as the law and the administration are concerned, all citizens have equal rights and equal claims. It becomes a matter of prestige and honour for the public services, especially for those holding responsible positions, to ensure that this code of conduct is observed to the maximum extent. Every unit in the administration has to discharge its duties in the understanding that the major justification of its existence lies in the service it renders to the community and the confidence which it evokes, and that the public has a contribution to make in the fulfilment of any programme which is no less vital than that of the administration. The approach towards the public must, therefore, always be based on an attitude of close co-operation and a desire to take the utmost advantage of the assistance of the people and provide for voluntary community action over as large a field as may be possible.

Public Participation In Programme

7. The aims of the Five Year Plan are wider than the targets of achievement proposed in it. It is, therefore, essential that conditions should be created to enable individuals and groups to make their maximum contribution as citizens and in fulfilling the targets of the Plan and advancing its objectives. Co-operation and participation are perhaps most fruitful when each citizen does his part after answering for himself three questions: (1) What promise does th^ Plan hold for him (2) What action does the Plan call for from him ( What mean does the Plan provide to assist him in doing what is asked of him ? Frequently, a national plan can only indicate a direction, a sign post and, whether as groups or as individuals, citizens have to discover their own practical answers and the contribution they are best able to make This is indeed the essence of democratic action. For the projects which are already in progress, depending upon their aims and importance, arrangements for public co-operation and participation which now exist should be reviewed by each administrative authority in the light of suggestions made later in this report and the people brought closer to each project. For other projects in the Plan, adequate arrangements for enlisting public co-operation and association have to be made from the very beginning. Careful consideration of these arrangements has to be regarded as much a part of scheme as the estimate of expenditure or the schedule of work or the statement of benefits which are anticipated,

8. In outlining the various programmes of development later in this report, the nature of co-operation from the public which each programme calls for, will be broadly indicated. The Plan cannot achieve substantial results without a great deal of understanding and support from the people. But this will not be enough. Participation of the people in framing and fulfilling programmes and targets constitutes the crux of development in the field of agriculture, and for the promotion of social welfare. From every aspect agricultural development turns upon the extent to which the people take up programmes with enthusiasm and are willing to work for them. The most important means for enlarging public co-operation in the rural sector is village community development achieved through panchayats and co-operatives. Proposals for assisting farmers with finance and supplies, promoting social welfare, and for removing social and economic disparities also depend upon the progress achieved, in building up these institutions, a task which itself calls for large numbers of extension workers as well as non-official social workers. In irrigation projects, on the execution of which the successful fulfilment of the Five Year Plan depends to no small extent, the most promising development would be for villages to form labour co-operatives and undertake the construction of new and other irrigation works in their neighbourhood.

9. The growth ot village industries, which is essential for relief of unemployment and under-employment, also hinges on the progress of co-operative organisations. In industry, measures which the management may take to enlist the co-operation of the worker and to create the feeling in him that he has a real stake in the enterprise will eventually go a long way to determine the organisation and structure of industry as a whole. In the field of social services, it is certain that without a great deal of active support from the community, the State can fulfil only a small part of its responsibility ; and if the development of social welfare is left to the resources of the State alone large gaps must remain. Much human suffering has therefore, to be alleviated through voluntary action on the part of the people. Indeed, it may even be said that unless urban and rural communities accept increasing obligations to provide themselves with the essential amenities and services, with perhaps some assistance from the State, progress in social welfare will be slow and inadequate. Thus, whether through positive assistance, or through participation or through co-operation in refraining from doing what may injure the public interest, the field of public co-operation becomes conterminous with that of national development.

10.. In a democracy the State cannot make use of all the real resources of the community directly or through private enterprise acting under the impulse of profit. A large fiel remains for planned effort to canalise on a voluntary basis the unused time and skill and other spare resources of the people and to secure for the community and its weaker sections a volume of economic and social benefit which would otherwise have not accrued. Voluntary service can be marshalled in rural areas for the construction and repair of sources of water supply, roads, school buildings and works for better sanitation and for satisfying a variety of needs which would otherwise remain neglected for years because the State has no financial resources to spare for the purpose. Voluntary activity on these lines, mostly of a sporadic character, is being carried out in different places in the country. The State itself has lent support to such activity in several cases. It is necessary to evaluate and pool the experience gained in recent } ears, and to work out effective methods for making use of the available voluntary effort.

11. The assistance which the government can give for programmes such as road building, minor irrigation, soil conservation, etc. should be designed primarily to supplement and make possible village development through the use of village labour. The time has long passed when the labour of a few could be commanded under duress for village schemes. Village labour for local development is now synonymous with participation by the entire village community. Various Panchayat Acts give powers to the village panchayat to levy a labour tax or obtain contribution in cash. In many States, the responsibility for repairing minor works is placed under the law on local communities. The law also permits local officials to obtain such labour as they may require for dealing with emergencies in connection with irrigation works, etc. For special situations such as invasion by locusts also local labour has been successfully utilised in some States. There is enough evidence from different parts of the country of the potential value of manpower resources for local development to justify emphasis on the role of voluntary labour in all rural work. The more local communities can undertake through their own effort, the greater will be the extent to which the government will find it possible to aid them. The principal object of community projects is to rebuild village life through work done by the people to meet their common needs. In addition to funds provided for the development of agriculture and irrigation, the Plan provides a further sum ofRs. 15 crores for assisting the rural population in undertaking, mainly with their own labour, works which are required for meeting their urgent needs. Schemes that can be taken up by organised groups of people would fall into three groups :

  1. where no official assistance is required,
  2. where only technical guidance or administrative assistance are required, and
  3. where technical aid, equipment and supplies etc. may also be needed.

In this connection, machinery will have to be set up (a) for assisting in getting the felt needs of the population converted into schemes and budgets, in terms of labour, finance, technical aid, equipment and supplies; and (b) for supplying the counterpart aid on behalf of the Government.

12 We have referred already to the basis on which political parties and groups with divergent emphasis in matters of policy may yet come together for common tasks in national development. Tlicre is scope for such co-operation everywhere and legislatures offer a ready meeting ground. To an even greater extent, it is in local self-governing bodies such as district boards ard municipal committees, which work through committees, that co-operation in meeting local needs yields rich rewards. It is, however, not enough that those elected to local authorities should co-operate with one another. An education committee or a health committee of a municipal body could have sub-committees for different sectors or wards in a town which can in turn draw upon the help and co-operation of other citizens. There could then be carefully drawn up programmes in each field in which the active support and interest of an increasing number of persons could become part of the programme. In local self-governing bodies as indeed elsewhere, it is by transforming authority into a mutual sharing of obligations and responsibilities that public co-operation can best thrive.

Professional Associations

13. Associations representing professional groups such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers, technicians and administrators have as great an opportunity as organised interests and possibly even greater to determine their part in national development. These associations contain a significant proportion of the nation's talent and knowledge and their role should be in complete accord with the interests of the community. They have the duty to lay down standards which members of each profession should observe and also, by stages, to improve these standards. It should also be possible for them to organise welfare programmes especially designed to enable their members to give to the community something beyond professional service. The community has much to gain by assisting professional associations to the greatest extent possible in developing their own programmes and supporting those initiated by the government.


14. The professions are manned by personnel from the universities which have, in turn, a unique contribution to make towards national development. It is being increasingly realised that State policy is adequate in the degree in which it is based upon constructive thought and on ascertained facts. It is precisely in these fields that the universities should be the torch-bearers. The Plan contemplates arrangements for co-operative research between the government and the universities. The sphere of public activity is steadily increasing and, therefore, the influence of thought and study in the universities should greatly increase. For much of its new personnel, the government has to turn to universities. The decline in the standards of education in recent years, which has been marked by many observers, is as much a matter of concern to the community as it is a challenge to the leaders in different fields of university education. The universities could strengthen their position as agencies for public co-operation by establishing extension departments and by developing field work programmes as part of their training courses.

Voluntary Organisations

15. Voluntary organisations engaged in social work can greatly enlarge the scope of the national plan by developing their own activities, attracting an increasing number of enlightened men and women with a desire for constructive work, and dealing with social problems for which the State cannot provide in sufficient measure. In the performance of various concrete tasks, small groups everywhere can find scope for co-operative activity and the exercise of initiative, and every individual can have something to which to devote his spare time and energy. These acts of disciplined service on the part of individuals and groups will foster the growth of leadership at all levels and will strengthen the community. In particular, voluntary organisations may attempt to develop fields for constructive work for women, youth and teachers and students. These three groups have a vital part to play and their potential for creative activity still remains far from realised. With these possibilities in view, the Plan provides Rs. 4 crores for assistance by the Central Government for voluntary organisations and Rs. i crore for youth camps and labour service for students.

16. As voluntary social welfare organisations develop and can assume greater responsibilities, it should be possible to entrust to them an increasing number of functions which have at present to be undertaken by government agencies. In securing public cooperation, the association of non-official representatives in bodies such as development committees, projects advisory committees, etc. in district administration and in community projects, is of a great value. This association should, however, be extended by affording greater opportunity for practical work and practical participation to voluntary organisations. According to the measure of what they are in a position to undertake, with such assistance as the government can provide, extension of the field of voluntary work would not only make economy but would also leave the personnel of government more free to take up tasks which have necessarily to be undertaken by the administration. Such devolution of functions can only take place progressively and on a selective basis, but it is necessary to emphasise that without such devolution occurring, the responsibilities of the administration tend to increase to an extent with which it may be difficult to cope.

17. The constitution of the Bharat Sevak Samaj and the National Advisory Committee for Public Cooperation in August 1952, are important preliminary steps recently taken for securing public cooperation on a nationwide basis. The National Advisory Committee, which is representative of different sections of opinion in the country, is expected to :

  1. review and assess the programmes of public co-operation in relation to national development ;
  2. advise the Planning Commission from time to time regarding the progress of public co-operation in relation to the fulfilment of the National Plan ;
  3. receive reports from the Central Board of the Bharat Sevak Samaj and consider such specific matters as may be referred to it for advice by the Central Board ;and
  4. make suggestions and recommendations to the Central Board of the Bharat Sevak Samaj on matters of policy and on programmes relating to public eo-opera-tion.

Bharat Sevak Samaj

18. The Bharat Sevak Samaj has been conceived of as a non-political and non-official national platform for constructive work. The primary objects of the Samaj are—

(1) to find and develop avenues of voluntary service for the citizens of India to—

  1. promote national sufficiency and build up the economic strength of the country,
  2. to promote the social well-being of the community and to mitigate the privations and hardships of
    its less favoured sections ; and

(2) to draw out the available unused time, energy and other resources of the people and direct them into various fields of social and economic activity.

The work of the Samaj, which is being undertaken on a nationwide scale, is at present in the initial stages of its organisation. The Bharat Sevak Samaj provides a common platform for all who wish to give their share of time and energy to developing the people's own effort in relation to the National Plan and, at the same time, it is intended to assist in the development of existing voluntary organisations.

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