Planners in Politics
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Planners in Politics

Do they Make a Difference?

Edited by Louis Albrechts

In this innovative book, ten executive politicians with backgrounds in planning from around the world dissect their own political careers. Reflecting on the often structural impact of their work in political decision-making, they also consider the translation of their experiences back into academic life or professional practice.
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Chapter 3: Indian planning circa 2018 and past experience: did experts make a difference?

Yoginder K. Alagh


My earliest role as an expert planner was heading the powerful perspective planning division of the Planning Commission with Indira Ganxhi supporting us in the context of critiques by the World Bank and Finance Ministry with Manmohan Singh as the Chief Economist. In the 1970s our strategies based on food grain growth studies with local data worked and became a policy model at home and abroad. Later we planned and implemented an agroclimatic growth strategy. In the manufacturing sector we developed a reform strategy of phasing decontrol and switchover to globally competitive clusters of industry, which received praise from policy experts like Lance Taylor and Robert Wade. In the more recent period, our strategy of reform of the Planning Commission had some impact, but the new body, the Niti Aayog, was not given fund allocation roles and so its Vision documents remained on paper. Our more recent work on a Framework Law for the Water sector had multiparty support and a draft legislation is in Parliament. It has an experience-based structure for dispute resolution.

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