By next week, the name of Yojana Bhawan will be history. It will be part of several orders the government will issue soon to put an end to the role of the Planning Commission.
The building that houses the Planning Commission on Parliament Street will get a new name, said a top source in the government. As the offices of the Plan panel members and their staff will be vacated, some ministries will be moving into them. One of them, the Ministry of Planning, is already housed in the building, but others including social sector cells for sanitation are expected to be shifted there.
The changes follow the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech to wind up the Planning Commission. Since the panel was set up through an executive order in March 1950, the orders to do away with it will not need Parliament’s nod.
The renaming of Yojana Bhawan is of immense importance in India’s economic history. The building set up in 1954 became the hub from where successive New Delhi governments ran 12 five yearly plans in the past 64 years. In recent years, however, the Commission has moved from a highly centralised planning system to one of indicative planning where it concerns itself only with the building of a long-term strategic vision for future.
Before he left office as the last deputy chairman of the Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia had written a paper in April this year to revamp the panel’s role. But he had stopped short of asking for scrapping it. Ahluwalia declined to comment on the latest developments.
The Modi government has also indicated that it will want to put a pause in the five year plans. So the government is expected to apportion the role of monitoring the plan schemes and targets for the central ministries for the remaining years of the 12th Five Year plan. The mid term review of the plan too is expected to be scrapped.