Part 16: Regional Planning

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Soviet type centralised planning, adopted after independence, is unscientific, wasteful, anti-people and undemocratic. The only scientific planning methodology is regional planning. It has great similarity with the traditional planning practices of India called Vastu Shastra. Vastu Shastra is designed for and highly sensitive to tropical ecology and land use planning for sustainability. It proposes proper location of human settlements and other activities, sound housing typology, environmental protection, use of waste, and such other matters.
 
Exploitative forest management and neglect of social development and land use planning during the colonial period, followed by Soviet type centralised planning during 50 years since independence, have given a severe jolt to social, environmental and economic planning in India.
 
Regional planning, now further facilitated by satellite imagery and geographic information systems, is widely practised in most well managed democracies. Significantly, it has great similarity with Vastu Shastra, the ancient Indian science of planning. Articles 243ZD and 243ZE of the present Constitution on district and metropolitan planning have already mandated scientific regional planning in India. Soviet type centralised planning has, as a result, become unconstitutional and needs to be discarded forthwith.
 
Article 16.1 Planning and its administration
Every district, city, state and national government shall have a "Department of Environment and Planning" for administration of regional planning headed by a sensitive minister. Planning consultants commissioned by the village or district governments will, interact with village communities and ascertain their needs and aspirations. Taking into consideration the available financial and environmental resources, they will prepare plans for village governments constituting subdistricts in consultation with local communities, covering socioeconomic, infrastructure and environmental resources expressed in analytical, quantitative and spatial forms, providing for public and private investment, and obtain approval from the village governments.
 
Similarly, city governments shall engage consultants to prepare city plans. The district governments will negotiate the sharing of environmental resources and infrastructure between the village and city governments and prepare draft district plans.
 
The state planning and environment ministries will then coordinate the district and city plans with the available state level infrastructure to prepare draft state plans. The national planning and environment ministries will then coordinate these plans with national level infrastructure to prepare national plans. Such regional planning will be a reiterative, ongoing process within the framework of a 20 year perspective plan. The present Planning Commission handling Soviet type centralised planning shall be abolished.
 
Article 16.2 Household, not Development, Economics
The entire discipline of development economics based on centralised planning and allocation of funds by the national and states governments based on preconceived plan schemes is wasteful and totally flawed. It alienates the people from the decision-making processes and often does not suit local aspirations. What is needed is housewife economics, that is, local governments do housekeeping while the state and national governments handle higher level functions.
 
Resource management and decision-making processes shall be restructured accordingly, based on scientific regional planning.
 
Note: Many economists have done outstanding work in development economics, some have even acquired international distinction --- but in a fake discipline!


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