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Multi-level planning UPSC |Regional Development and Planning | Geography of India

In the first and second five years, India's approach to development was mainly centralized planning from a financial and framing perspective. There are many drawbacks to centralized planning, some are listed below:

  • local problems get ignored
  • Not inclusive development
  • Local Environmental issues not handled
  • It is top to down approach

To overcome this planning,  the first time, the Mehta Committee report in 1957 supported decentralized planning, the following are characteristics of Decentralized planning:

  • Bottom to top approach
  • implementation of some functions at the local level. It is a more Democratic and responsive form of development.

In Multi-level planning, countries can be divided into many regions and regions can be further divided into many sub-regions based on geographical, administrative, cultural, and political uniqueness. Planning is done at a sub-regional level that will provide bases for regional planning and further it will provide the basis of country-level planning.

In multi-level Planning is similar to decentralized planning, but it is done at more than two levels. Each level has a well-defined function and they are functionally independent. Planning in each level is done in a synchronized manner and also they are connected with feedback loops.

But finally, in 1992-93 multi-level planning was made mandatory in the state through 73rd and 74th Constitution amendment acts.

As of now, the following are the various level of planning in India:

  • Centre-Sectoral Planning, inter-state planning
  • States- Regional Planning, Inter-regional planning, sectoral planning,
  • Districts-sub regional, regional planning,
  • Blocks-areas planning
  • Villages-village planning,

Importance of Multilevel planning in regional development in India:

  • India is a very diverse country both geographically and culturally; one plan at the national level can not be suitable for all over India, hence multi-level planning is very much needed for India.
  • Framing policy at the multi-level would be catering to the actual ground level requirement for the basic necessity.  Multi-level planning helps to address local-level problems. For example, 
    • Some villages facing water scarcity hence policy should be on water conservation
    • Some region has flood problems, the policy should be to avoid flood and strengthen infrastructure.
    • It will help to reduce the regional disparity in India.
    • It helps to better utilization of resources because local people participate more and policy is designated for the regional requirements.
    • It uses local knowledge and techniques from local people experts to solve local issues.
  • The involvement of local people provides quick and pragmatic feedback to planners and also provides a solution.
  • Corruption will be minimized as local people audit the implementation. 
  • Multilevel planning is more sustainable than single-level planning.
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