National Development Council of India
The National Development Council (NDC) is a crucial body in India’s policy-making framework. Established in 1952, it serves as a platform for cooperation and coordination between the central and state governments on development issues. Here are some key points to remember about the NDC for your UPSC preparation:
Background of NDC
Establishment (1952): The NDC was established in 1952, shortly after India gained independence from British colonial rule. It was created as a statutory body under the “Resolution of the Government of India Act, 1935.”
Early Years: In its early years, the NDC played a pivotal role in formulating India’s first few Five-Year Plans, which were aimed at fostering economic growth, reducing poverty, and promoting industrialization and agriculture development.
Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, was actively involved in shaping the country’s development policies through the NDC.
Changes Over Time: Over the years, the NDC evolved in response to changing economic and political dynamics in India. In 2015, the Planning Commission, which had played a central role in India’s planning process, was replaced by the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India).
While the NITI Aayog took on a more prominent role in shaping policies, the NDC continued to exist as a forum for coordination and consultation.
Main functions of the National Development Council:
- Formulation of Plans and Policies: The NDC is responsible for formulating and recommending plans and policies for the economic and social development of India. This includes the formulation of Five-Year Plans and long-term development strategies.
- Guidance on Development Issues: The NDC provides guidance and recommendations on important development issues such as poverty alleviation, education, healthcare, infrastructure development, and employment generation.
- Policy Direction: The NDC offers policy direction on matters related to economic growth, social justice, and environmental sustainability.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: The NDC monitors and evaluates the performance of different sectors and programs to gauge their impact and effectiveness.
- To make recommendations regarding local autonomy systems, management of cooperative societies, and determination of general policies.
- To make recommendations on how to implement the objectives and targets of the National Plan.
- To approve the plans (basically five-year plans).
- To make recommendations on reducing inequality with balanced development in different regions of the state.
- Emphasis on decentralized industrial production.
- To provide necessary advice to the Central and State Governments on the above matters.
Important Points of NDC
01. The Prime Minister was appointed ex-officio Chairman of the National Development Council.
02. The Council consists of the Prime Minister, the Chief Ministers of the States, the members of the Planning Commission, the Administrators of the Union Territories and the members of the Union Cabinet.
03. The body was formed based on a proposal by the central cabinet to ensure the country’s financial policy and healthy development system. The previous five-year plan was approved by the National Development Council.
04. As an advisory body, its main function is to advise the Central and State Governments and the former Planning Commission.
05. Other main objectives of the National Development Council are:
(a) Rapid development
(b) Establishment of balanced monetary policy
(c) Emphasis on socio-economic issues and
(d) Implementation of necessary policies in the national interest.
06. The Prime Minister usually convenes the National Development Council twice a year. The agenda of the Board is decided in consultation with the Central Government, the State Governments, and the Planning Commission (now the NITI Aayog) (the issues to be discussed are decided by the Prime Minister).
07. K. Santhanam, in his famous book ‘Union-State Relations in India,’ has termed the National Development Council as the Super-Cabinet of the United States of India.
08. A detailed discussion and introduction of the National Development Council are mentioned in the book ‘Indian Administration’ (a famous book written by Maheshwari).
09. The role of the National Development Council is also mentioned in the book ‘Federalism in India‘ (written by Ashok Chandra).
10. Maurice Jones in his book “Indian Govt. And Politics” called the council an advisory body instead of a super cabinet.
11. The chief ministers of all the states could become ex-officio members of the National Development Council. The first president of the National Development Council was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
12. The power to deliver the inaugural address of the Council is vested to the Prime Minister. The National Development Council originated primarily as an advisory board.
At present, the NITI Aayog has a significant impact on all strategies and policies. Since 2015 the policy, NITI Aayog has been led by the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) of India.
Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:
NCERT Class 12 Political Science textbook
Websites of the Ministry of Planning and NITI Aayog: https://niti.gov.in/
While preparing for the UPSC exam, focus on understanding the core objectives and functions of the NDC.
Pay attention to recent developments and reforms related to the NDC, such as the abolition of the Planning Commission and the creation of NITI Aayog.
While the National Development Council (NDC) was an important body in India’s policy-making framework, it was abolished in 2015, replaced by NITI Aayog. Therefore, UPSC is unlikely to ask direct questions about the NDC in its current format. However, the issues and functions of the NDC are still relevant to the UPSC syllabus, especially under Governance (GS Paper 2).
NDCl sample questions for UPSC:
Discuss the challenges faced by the National Development Council in achieving its objectives. (100 words)
How has the shift from National Development Council to NITI Aayog impacted India’s planning process? (150 words)
Differentiate between the roles of the NDC and the Planning Commission in India’s development strategy.