DMPQ- What was the concept of Sarvodaya plan ? Examine the it’s impact in India’s economic planning.

Sarvodaya plan was drafted by Jaiprakash Narayan. The plan was mainly inspired by the Gandhian Plan provided by S N Agarwal & the Idea of Sarvodaya presented by another Gandhian leader Vinoba Bhave.  The sarvodaya plan put forward and emphasized the importance of agriculture and village industries especially small-scale textile & cottage industries in the process of economic development. The plan also recommended the Luddite approach and was pessimistic towards the usage of foreign technology.

Famous socialist leader Jaiprakash Narayan—the Sarvodaya Plan published in January 1950. The plan drew its major inspirations from the Gandhian techniques of constructive works by the community and trusteeship as well as the Sarvodaya concept of Acharya Vinoba Bave, the eminent Gandhian constructive worker. Major ideas of the plan were highly similar to the Gandhian Plan like emphasis on agriculture, agri-based small and cottage industries, self-reliance and almost no dependence on foreign capital and technology, land reforms, self-dependent villages and decentralised participatory form of planning and economic progress, to name the major ones. Some of the acceptable ideas of the plan got their due importance when the Government of India promoted five year plans.

By the early 1960s, Jayprakash Narayan had become highly critical of the Indian planning process especially of its increasing centralising nature and dilution of people’s participation in it. Basically, the very idea of democratic decentralisation was disliked by the established power structure, namely, the MLAs/MPs, the bureaucracy and the state-level politicians. This led the Jayprakash Narayan Committee (1961) to observe against the centralising nature of the Indian planning. The committee pointed out that after having accepted Panchayati Raj as the agency responsible for planning and execution of plans, there is “no longer any valid reason for continuing the individual allocations subjectwise even to serve as a guide.”

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