Indian Plans and Tarlok Singh
This collection of papers constitutes a compendium of tributes by friends and associates of Late Shri Tarlok Singh who died recently. The IASSI Quarterly owes much to Shri Tarlok Singh who, in a way, started the publication and served as its Editor for a long time. He worked in his later years as Editorial Adviser when due to physical indisposition, it was no longer be possible for him to devote his time fully to the journal. Remembering his contribution to the journal this issue is being presented as a Special Issue in his memory.
Poverty suffered by the people of India disturbed Shri Tarlok Singh's mind greatly. Shri Tarlok Singh was a Member of the cadre of the Indian Civil Service. This cadre was formed by the British Government to serve as the bureaucratic steel frame of the Raj. The officers were highly educated persons; they studied mostly in Cambridge, Oxford and London School. Shri Tarlok Singh was a product of London School of Economics. Many of these officers possessed an academic bent of mind. They used their service period in India in part to study and research and produced valuable monographs and books. Shri Tarlok Singh was one among these persons. He took the opportunity of his posting in districts and subdivisions in studying about the all pervasive poverty in the country, which he used to tell me was his primary reason for joining the service. He did not study, per se, the state of poverty in the country, which was all too apparent, but the circumstances, social relations, the land tenancy conditions and all such structural features which he thought could be the reason for the state of poverty.
He joined the service in 1937 and as a young officer got posting in districts in various jobs. He travelled extensively within the districts; saw first hand low things were in the villages and also talked with people to find out the problems afflicting the villages; he also studied, in particular the social relations which could be related to the poverty suffered by the people. He further developed, as this stage, a habit of putting in writing all that he learnt in the course of his discussions and talks with the villagers. He formed a determination to go again to those villages and talk again with his original respondents and find what type of changes had occurred within the intervening period.
He continued with this habit of writing down all that the considered relevant. He carried three small note books in his pocket and filled those books most earnestly. He used to tell me also about his resolve to visit the same households he had contacted earlier and bring out another book as a continuation of his study of poverty.
India, during the closing stages of the second war, was already preparing for the forthcoming independence. Leaders were working on details of transfer of power. They were also working on developmental programmes to be adopted for bringing about appropriate improvements in the country. All leaders and intellectuals were also convinced that only through rigorous economic planning could poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment be removed. Already two plan drafts, one called the Bombay Plan, sponsored by Indian industrialists and another prepared by the Radical Humanists, under M.N. Roy, called Peoples plan, were made. The Congress Party had also formed one National Planning Committee for preparing a draft of a plan.
Shri Tarlok Singh's study on Poverty - Poverty and Social Change-appeared at this stage (1943). It contained his suggestions on the typeof social and economic change which needed to be brought about for removing poverty in the country. His own study made him aware that nothing short of an over all economic transformation, involving both villages and urban centres, could be able to make a dent in the situation. Directions were also given in the book pursuing which the suggested transformation might be possible. In a way, the book contained rudiments of a planning model for removing the underdevelopment of India, based on an understanding of the structural features of the country.
In the underdeveloped countries, planning for development invariably suggested rapid industralization. The USSR succeeded in building up a strong industrial base within a short period of time so much so that the military might of Germany, built on a strong industrial base, was humbled. This illustration held out what overall economic planning could achieve. In the USSR the entire focus of planning was on large scale industries. Agricultural was used for providing, what has been called primitive capital which was needed for pushing the process of industrialization. Agriculture was collectivized ruthlessly for this purpose so that a surplus could be formed for supporting industrialization.
In India, Gandhian philosophy and ideology, which moulded the Congress thinking during the preindependence days, were centred on the village economy and agriculture. Taking ideas from Gandhiji, and possibly also from his Punjab heritage, Shri Tarlok Singh fully understood the crucial significance of agriculture in the Indian economy and society. Thus, although Shri Tarlok Singh has an idea of a total economic plan behind his thinking, agriculture continued to remain his main focus. The concept of collective farming which was the core of Soviet planning, he avoided and introduced in its place, as a methodology of agricultural development, his idea of joint management with individuals retaining the property.
Shri Tarlok Singh was convinced that any attempt to improve Indian agriculture would necessarily bring out the then current disguised underemployment as open unemployment. He talked of industrial development programmes as a means to absorb the surplus labour into gainful industrial employment. In a way, he made industrialization as a means to balancing the economy and not the focus of development.
During those days a part of the Indian political leaders and the intellectuals were followers of the Gandhian ideology; another part was inclined towards Marxian thought. Shri Tarlok Singh's work could find favour, under the circumstances, with all the thinking and reading people. In 1943 Shri Tarlok Singh was selected for the Finance and Commerce Pool and from 1943 to 1946 he worked in Ministry of Finance. The Interim Government with Panditji as Vice-President was formed in September 1946. Initially, the Interim Government consisted only of Congress members and Panditji was supposed to be looking after vacant portfolios which included Finance. Shri Tarlok Singh was asked to report to the Vice President, i.e. Panditji, to work as his Private Secretary.
Pandijit said in the first meeting that he was happy to have him; that he was familiar with his work on poverty; that he also advised his colleagues to study the book. Panditji found in the book, first some ideas, but most importantly, his man for dealing with the planning activities in the country.
Panditji was convinced that escape of India from the trap of underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment, could be possible only through comprehensive economic planning. He also could not have any doubt about the role bureaucracy had to play in the transformation of the economy and the extent of commitment to social development which they would need to have in this regard. He must have seen in Shri Tarlok Singh the potentialities of such a bureaucrat. The Planning Commission was formed by a resolution in the Parliament in 1950 and Shri Tarlok Singh entered the Planning Commission in the same year as Deputy Secretary.
There could be no doubt that in forming the organization of the Planning Commission he had a great deal to do. It was not easy to form an organization, like the Indian Planning Commission, in the early fifties. The form of an organization had to be dependent on the objective for which the organization is set up and also on the types of activities which were needed for achieving the objectives. The Planning Commission was formed principally, as one finds in the First Five Year Plan document, for:
making an assessment of the material, capital and human resources of the country, including technical personnel, and to investigate the possibilities of augmenting such of these resources as are found to be deficient in relation to the nations's requirement; and
formulating plans for most active and balanced utilization of the country's resources.
These were very general objectives and could not be very clearly tied to such operational programmes which might lead to the objectives of the Planning Commission. Except in USSR nowhere were comprehensive economic planning exercises done and not much was known about the manner in which the work was carried out in USSR. Thus no guidance could be obtained from the experiences of USSR. The developed countries were never involved in preparing economic plans during those days. Thus no insight or idea could be obtained from that side. Moreover, very little work (theoretical and empirical) was done on the subject of economic planning in the developed countries so that knowledge of the technical aspects of planning was utterly inadequate, while preparing comprehensive economic plans for countries was essentially technical in nature.
There were also many incidental difficulties. Immediately after independence Professor Mahalonobis, a noted physicist and statistician, who founded the Indian Statistical Institute at Calcutta, was appointed as Hony. Statistical Adviser to the Government of India and also the Chairman of the National Income Committee. Immediately he started thinking about ways for bringing about socio-economic development. He produced in the process a simple idea which could be used for establishing steady economic growth in the country.
Prof. Mahalonobis also started formally working on a model which might be used for developing a framework of the Indian plan. He brought many economic experts for helping him in this work at various stages. In a way, a centre for theoretical work related to preparation of the plan began to work at Calcutta, with inputs from almost all countries.
Knowledge about the technical aspects of plan preparation was not possessed by the western economic experts. Prof. Mahalonobis himself produced one two-sector model of economic growth. (Some observations on the process of Growth of National Income; Vol. 12, No. 4) and this became the basis for discussion among the economists. Work on the First Five Year Plan was started immediately after the Planning Commission was started and it was completed by the end of 1952. This plan largely included the programmes which were on-going at that time. It also contained a reference to education, social welfare and other aspects which were talked about before independence like poverty and unemployment. Programmes for remedying such problems were also included in the plan.
One chapter of the First Plan document was devoted to presenting the process of economic growth and the forces which sustained it. This chapter was based on ideas of growth as developed by Harrod and Domar. The discussions in the chapter were not directly related to other chapters of the document.
We find in the chapter on agriculture some ideas which Shri Tarlok Singh developed in his book on Poverty and Social Change. His idea about cooperative villages management was also included in the plan suggestions. The focus in the First plan was on agriculture. The social and structural features - the distribution of land holdings, land tenancy system, problems of agriculture marketing etc. were squarely dealt with. In a significant way, one could find traces of Shri Tarlok Singh's thinking as developed in his book in the First plan formulation.
As indicated earlier the Chapter One in the First plan report dealt with the relationship between investment, income and economic development. Other chapters in the report did not draw anything from chapter one and looking from this side the chapter was unrelated to the first plan. It, however, played a significant role in the Indian planning process. A pre-emptive pressure was formed with respect to the structure of the plans to follow. It was that a model of growth should lie behind the programmes and politicies in the different plans. This suggestion also influenced the organization form which the Planning Commission might adopt for preparing the developmental plans.
In the late forties or even in early fifties of the previous century, a choice of growth models did not exist. Only one model, developed separately and independently by Harrod and Domar existed. Both exercises gave identical results. In both cases the rate of growth of output appeared as a truistic relation. Although the Harrod-Domar relations were used in the discussions in chapter one of the First Plan document, it however, never followed that growth could be steady. In both cases possibilities of instability were present and it needed analysis of many other economic relations so as to find a stable growth path.
Thus, at the stage, India needed an operational growth model tuned with the Indian socio-economic conditions. It was not an easy job. The database was exceedingly poor. Estimation of GNP had only begun. Firm figures with respect to any economic parameter were not available. Statistical estimates through sample surveys were produced by the NSS and these were increasingly used. Most importantly, Indian economists had not entered into work on growth model building. Mahalonobis himself undertook, in the circumstances, to produce a meaningful model of growth which he thought could be a basis for the Second Five Year Plan. He involved a large number of economic experts from different countries as consultants in discussions and work on the model of growth. Expert groups, working groups and such bodies were formed and the ISI Calcutta became the Centre for theoretical work on the Second Plan.
Most attention during the preparation of the Second Plan was put on the development of the mathematical growth model. Indian and International intellectuals discussed the pros and cons of the model at length. Use of the model for plan formulation was not wholly successful. The Indian Statistical system was too inadequate to support the analytical work needed for the purpose. The Ministry of Finance and the Economic Division of the Planning Commission produced estimates of investible surplus that might be generated during the plan period. This figure was taken as a measure of investment during the plan period.
No estimate of other coefficients which entered the model was possible and different ad hoc figures were taken for simulation work. Ultimately the most which the Planning Project yielded was a sort of an allocation of total investment in various segments.
Mahalonobi's two sector model provided for given values of plough back ratios, the path of growth of national product and also the shares of capital goods and consumption goods. A particular value of plough back ratio was chosen keeping in mind the profile of output growth. Values of income-capital ratios which were needed for solving the growth equation were taken a priori. In a way, therefore, the two sector model could not contribute much to the formulation of the Plan. All consumption good production, services etc. which were the core of the First Plan remained untouched. One only found out from the two-sector model aggregate computation goods output and aggregate investment in this segment from the two-sector model.
Mahalanobis and his national and international associates definitely noted the great weakness of the basic-two-sector model. There could also be no doubt that taken alone, with all it's a priori basis, the model could not be expected to fulfil the objectives set out in the plans.
Mahalanobis also developed one four sector model. (The Approach of Operational Research to Planning in India: Sankhya Vol. 16 No. 4) It dealt with four sectors; the consumption goods sector was broken into three sectors and the capital goods sectors remained as they were in the two-sector model. In a way, it could be taken as a generalization of the two-sector model; Mahalonobis also retained the coefficients which entered into the two sector model. In this way the two sector model continued to stand, conceptually at least, as the answer to the problems which the Constitution and the Planning Commission considered as the cause for India's depressive condition. The allocation of investment in the consumption goods sector was necessary for closing the aggregate four-sector model.
The aggregate investment in the consumption good sector was known from the two sector model. The two-sector model also provided a measure of total consumption goods output. The two aggregate figures were not, however, sufficient for producing estimates of investment in the three consumption goods sectors. Per se, therefore, the model was not closed; allocation of investment in the three consumption goods sectors was not possible. Mahalonobis added an estimate of aggregate employment which the plan might achieve during the plan period. He also introduced employment per unit of investment for see the these consumption goods sectors. This produced the third equation for obtaining equilibrium values of investment in the three sectors.
The four-sector model was developed so as to make the entire mathematical exercise produce results that could be useful for building up programmes for socio-economic development. The four-sector model, on the other hand, was totally flimsy; nothing of this exercise was useable. If the four-sector model was flimsy, the two-sector model was also without significance. The coefficients used in the model were not estimated using valid data. The most significant parameter of the model was the plough back ratio. It's value was not estimated; it was adopted in an adhoc manner on the basis of a sort of simulation exercise. The plough back ratio could be used only for working out how much of the resources could be devoted to building the capital goods sector.
The plough back ratio determined what part of the investible resource could be ploughed back for building the capital goods sector. The theoretical discussions involved sometimes the terms of heavy industries sector, sometimes the machine goods sectors and some times the key and basic industries. There was never any discussion on the content of the sector, though the idea of ploughing back one third of aggregate investment for the sector was fixed in mind as the key to India's prosperity. In subsequent years as data began to appear efforts were made to work out what the plough back ratio in fact was. As the content was never clarified different estimates were produced varying from 20 percent to 45 percent. In a way, the mathematical experiences were without significance in the context of India's development plans.
There were other sectors of the economy which received attention during the First Plan. These were: agriculture and community development; national extension and community projects; village panchayats and local development works; irrigation and flood controls; and, finally, social services. According to the Second Plan formulation, two-thirds of the aggregate investment would go to these sectors. The Second Plan, taking the two-sector and the four-sector model, was totally indifferent about these sectors, whereas the social objective which the over all plans aimed at needed a great deal of attention to these aspects.
Programmes for development of these segments needed attention of technical and professional persons. The Planning Commission got this work done by setting up many Steering Committees, Working Groups and Expect Committees. Members of the Committees were drawn from all over the country, Central and State government departments and such other technical bodies. The Planning Commission itself formed many technical divisions which served these Committees as a secretariat. A totally fluid organization thus came to be formed for working out plan documents.
The Plan Document, which appears every five years, and which indicates in which direction the Indian economy and society could be expected to move during the period, is essentially, in a way the product of the above mentioned Steering and other Committees. The Committees began their discussion on the given terms of reference, held a few meetings and ended by producing the report which forms an input for the plan document. The subjects dealt with are technical, like expansion of railways, road transport, shipping, agriculture, animal husbandry, education, scientific development, and such others. These matters are looked at by the respective ministries. Thus, the ministerial departments are involved very intimately with these Committees. Besides the members from the ministries, individual experts are also associated with the Committees.
During his time Shri Tarlok Singh managed and coordinated the activities of these Committees. He used to hold personal discussions with the members of these Committees and at the end managed to get the drafts from different divisions of the Planning Commission, out of which the final plan draft emerged. He had his office full of persons all the time for discussion on various aspects of the plan. This is how his office came to be known as Tarlok Sabha as a parallel of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha which decided the fate of the country.
The Second Plan was fully focused on building up a heavy industrial base of the economy. Under the objectives, techniques and priorities in planning, as set out in the First Plan document, on finds: we have not only to build up a big productive machine - though this is no doubt a necessary condition of development - we have at the same time to improve health, sanitation and education and create social conditions for a vigorous cultural advance. In the Second Plan document all these aspects were touched upon in appropriate chapters but their development was not directed towards improvement of quality of life of the people. These were instead related to the contribution that could be made for achieving the basic objective of heavy industrialization.
For example, development in the areas of education was linked to manpower requirement primarily without concern for human development; public health aspects were totally neglected with over emphasis on curative aspects. Community health programmes - safe water supply, drainage, environmental management, housing; rural communication etc.-were utterly neglected. In matters related to agriculture emphasis was only given to conditions for raising agricultural output with total disregard of social and cultural aspects which were the basis of Indian agriculture, village and rural industries.
The two-sector model developed by Mahalonobis was supposed to build up an economic perspective around which individual plans could be dovetailed. The plough back coefficient was the only choice with the operator which determined the future path. The Third Plan literally continued the Second Plan in all respects. The only exception was an increase of emphasis on agricultural output. The additional allocation involved adjustment within the consumption goods sector without affecting the primary objective on heavy industries. Thus the implicit indifference towards the issues of quality of life of the people was persisted with.
In 1962 Shri Tarlok Singh resigned from the Indian Civil Service while holding the position of Additional Secretary, Planning Commission. He was taken as a Member of the Planning Commission. From 1962 to 1967 he remained as a Member of the Commission.
The Third Plan period, as a whole, did not provide encouraging results. The country faced agricultural shortages of a significant order. Supplies of foreign exchange also created problems. The most important feature was a rising deviation from the basic objective of the planning process in the country.
As is known, the struggle for freedom was fought at two planes. The slogan of Swaraj brought together all intellectuals, lawyers, doctors, teachers, other professionals, and even bureaurcrats and serving officials -in the freedom struggle. But the population of these persons was smalland could not be expected to wrest power away from the Britishers then. Gandhiji brought in the common people who were living in the village in their own way. Their life was built around agriculture. Their condition of living was deplorable. Due to lack of sanitation and hygiene every year epidemic diseases took away many people. People suffered from malnutrition and diseases of all sorts. Facilities for communication, education etc. were utterly lacking. Gandhiji built up his concept of independence with complete focus on improvement of life of the people in the villages and managed to draw the rural population into the struggle for freedom.
From these two planes of struggle two objectives of social policy emerged in course of time. Those who fought for Swaraj ultimately aimed at reforming the economy and society so as to make it a copy of the western developed countries, preferably England, whose language and habits the then intellectuals strived to make their own. The other objective emerged from the Gandhian thoughts and ideals. Development of conditions of living under the villages system was equated with social development and this was made the focus of planning. The report of the Economic Programmes Committee which the Congress Party formed immediately after independence blended these two objectives in a reasonable manner. This spirit was also continued in the First Plan report. The First Plan only hinted towards the need for a theoretical model but developed all the programmes from the ground level.
In the Second Plan, on the other hand, the emphasis was put primarily on the aspirations of the Swarajists. The Second Plan objectives avoided Gandhian thought almost altogether. The third plan was a continuation of the Second Plan; an utter neglect of the objectives which followed from Gandhian thought was, therefore, implicit in the system.
The Second Plan model was developed analogously as a mechanical system. A large plough back ratio produce a capital base in the quickest time. If, thereafter, the plough back ratio is reduced, the large output of the capital goods sector at that stage could be put to increasing the supply of consumption goods and raising per capita consumption. Theoretical discussions on choice of technique also began to occur. It was generally held on the basis of the discussions that the technique of building up a large capital goods sector initially could be most propitious for ensuring a large flow of consumption in future and removing consequently the overwhelming poverty that afflicted society. One might believe that at some stage application of the Second Plan model in the manner envisaged could produce a modern India, as prosperous as the western countries.
Shri Tarlok Singh, as stated earlier had a totally different approach in his Poverty and Social Change. He was more inclined towards Gandhian ideology than towards Socialism, although he was not averse to using the socialistic approach as an instrument of public policy. As a bureaucrat he was used to managing things and felt convinced that economy and society need control, guidance and management for realizing the objectives. For him, in a way, socialism was a means to an end. The Third Plan, on the other hand, not only followed the lines of the Second Plan but also, in the introduction, provided, so to say, a manifesto of socialism, which clearly held out an objective of establishing a socialist society through the planning process. There was mention of community development and also of village panchayats. These were not, however, linked to human and social development but as stated earlier, to increased production and productivity.
Shri Tarlok Singh could be at home with the Second Plan approach in so far as the plan formulation depended on working out programmes and implementing them, given the rules for allocation of investment. He was also greatly annoyed when restructuring and liberalization occurred in India. He felt convinced that introduction of a market friendly economy could adversely affect the programme of poverty alleviation and employment generation.
Shri Tarlok Singh coordinated and managed the works at the Planning Commission all through the First, Second and the Third Plan period. He also got the drafts of the plan documents prepared taking maximum responsibility and initiative. He was, on the other hand, more than a bureaucrat. He had his own ideas about the way the economy should be guided so that the under development and poverty which characterized the society could be removed without overtly disturbing the cultural and social heritage. It is, however, evident that his ideas only found expression marginally in the First Plan. Steady deviation began to occur thereafter between his ideas and the approaches in the plans, so much so that Shri Tarlok Singh's ideas could not be identified anywhere in the Third Plan document. For a person with great conviction and strong sensibility the situation could be highly unsatisfactory.
Shri Tarlok Singh left Planning Commission in 1967. He was less than 55 years old at that time. He also left India immediately and joined Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs) as Visiting Senior Research Economist. He was there during 1968–69. Simultaneously he was also a Professorial Fellow at the Institute for International Economic Studies at Stockholm. After leaving the Planning Commission he began working on his old study of Poverty and Social Change. He brought out a second edition of his book and included in it what he called a Reappraisal of his old work. Chapter one of the Reappraisal is his enumeration of the Unfinished Tasks. In the section on continuing themes he wrote: In the larger context, the themes raised in Poverty and Social Change are of a continuing and Fundamental Character. All of these are still with us, far from resolved, and now in many ways much more difficult than they had seemed. Then he added: they have to be formulated afresh, in the idiom of our own time, in the light of present conditions and the important changes which have since occurred.
The subsequent part of the Reappraisal has been his own formulation, in the idiom of the present time. One finds in the Reappraisal how deep was his commitment to the ideology and approach he suggested in his original work which amounted to an effort to blend Gandhian and socialistic ideology for betterment of the country. His Reappraisal clearly brought out that he continued to maintain his initial fervour for reforming Indian society in a given direction, though forces, of which he was a part, took it away progressively from his cherished goal.
Shri Tarlok Singh wanted to bring out in a different way the extent of deviation that occurred after the independence of the country. He edited the IASSI Quarterly for many years. Some issues of this journal were theme based containing invited papers on particular issues written by eminent persons. One of the issues (Vol. 12. Nos. 1 & 2) was devoted to Vision at Independence. It contained the report of the Economic Programmes Committee, and reflections and observations on the report.
The Economic Programmes Committee consisted to top level Congress leaders with Nehru as Chairman. One might describe the Committee as a combination of Gandhian and Socialists thought. The report of the Committee bore a clear stamp of the vision of a political party which struggled for independence of a poverty stricken country from an exploiting industrial power.
The economy and social of the country were fully based on agriculture in rural settings. Thus the stress was on improving the rural economy and having a better deal for the rural agrarian population. The report provided, so to say, a value orientation of economic development. Of the five objectives laid down four were related to social equity or distributive aspects of the economic programme with only one of the five objectives being directly concerned with the growth aspect.
Prof. S. Guhan in his note, printed in this issue of the IASSI Quarterly, summarized the instruments proposed in the report of attaining the social objectives in the following way: (1) statutory village panchayats with well defined powers and adequate financial resources and with supervisory jurisdictions over all other institutions in the locality, (2) workers participation in the management of industry and in profit sharing, (3) cooperative organization of production; distribution and credit foragriculture and small industry, (4) strengthening linkages between agriculture and industry and (5) a national assurance of minimum income.
Similarity, in some respects, between the approach of the Economic Programmes Committee and that of Shri Tarlok Singh has been quite close. As stated by Dantwala, in a paper printed in the same issue of IASSI Quarterly (The Vision and the Reality) there was a contradiction in the recommendation of the Committee. The contradiction lay in its advocacy, under pressure from the socialists of almost total state control of the industrial sector and its advocacy of decentralized cooperative management of the economy, under the pressure from the Gandhians on the Committee. Dantwala also added: looking back, it becomes evident that in the conflict of the two ideologists the state won and the people lost.
Shri Tarlok Singh's own model also suffered from the contradiction. However, his compassion for poor, oppressed and down trodden people was genuine. He returned from abroad in the middle of the decade of 1970’s and remained, thereafter, involved in various activities which were directed to redressing the distress which people suffered. He felt that researches in the area of social sciences could be expected to produce enough information and insight which might be used for evolving appropriate policies for taking care of problems afflicting the society. With this in view he arranged to establish the Indian Association of Social Science Institutions as a base for organizing researchers involving many institutions in a multidisciplinary framework, debates and discussions etc. He also started the Quarterly Journal (IASSI Quarterly) and edited the journal for a long period. Special efforts began to be made to devote individual issues of the journal to specific issues of social concern. He invited papers from reputed authorities for this purpose.
Shri Tarlok Singh adopted the approach as a means to influence public policy and induce changes in society in the direction of the values he upheld. He possibly published the issue on Vision at Independence and printed the main report and observations by eminent persons together for reviving the old debate on the values which sustained India's freedom movement and for opening a case for reviewing the objectives of India's social policy.
Dantwala's assessment of the gains and losses of the planning process, as stated earlier, was echoed fully by Lakdawala, in the Planning Commission. In the revised draft Sixth Five Year Plan, 1978–83 one finds in the introduction the following:
Assessment of India's economic development over a quarter of century of Planning has indicated some fundamental failures and it is on account of these that the need has arisen for a reappraisal of the development strategy. We must face the fact that the most important objectives of planning have not been achieved. The most cherished goals seem to be almost as distant as when we set out on the road to planned development. These aims - implicit in all our plans, but more explicitly stated in the latter formulations of our development strategy - are universally accepted by the Indian people; they are the achievement of full employment, eradication of poverty and the creating of a more equal society.
Following the approach adopted by Shri Tarlok Singh in the latter part of his life he brought up all the above aspects for further review and discussion and also for research with the fond hope that the path of progress of society could still be corrected. He was passionate in his approach and conducted his affairs with the enterprise and zeal of a missionary; he believed all the time that the activities he carried out would, at some stage, change the face of India. Being associated with the IASSI, I worked with Shri Tarlok Singh in all these activities. But I also told him all the time that if he could not influence the course of events while he held all the powers at the Indian Planning Commission, how could he now think that he might succeed when all his powers are gone. He did not answer my question and only said that we should work hard for achieving our goals.
At one stage I also asked him if he could not, with his position in the Planning Commission, influence the course of events, which took the country away from the professed goal, why did not he leave the Commission? His answer what that he gracefully offered his resignation at one stage on an issue involving a matter of principle. Sometime afterwards he was offered a position of Governor which he refused and left for abroad. He was only around 55 years of age at that stage and was never associated with any public office in India thereafter.
Dantwala was categorical in his assessment that the people lost and ended as victims of the Indian Planning process; Shri Tarlok Singh also lost and ended as a victim of the planning process which he himself so assiduously built up.
The papers included in the Special Issue of the journal have been contributed by Shri Tarlok Singh's friends and associates. He had a large number of friends and associates during his life time but most have pre decreased him. Requests were sent to all those who were alive for papers for the special issue. Shri Tarlok Singh was versatile and took interest in many areas and actively contributed to the development of those area. With a view to continuing the progress in those study areas which Shri Tarlok Singh initiated, papers were invited with a focus on the areas of his interest. His friends generously responded to the request and many papers were received, so much so that all these could not be accommodated in a single issue of the journal given a reasonable size. Three issues of the journal are being brought out in the form of a tribute to Shri Tarlok Singh.