2nd Five Year Plan
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Chapter 12:

Research Programmes

the object of this chapter is to set out briefly steps which .have been taken during the past three years to develop research, statistics and evaluation in relation to planning and the directions in which further work is proposed to be undertaken. When the First Five Year Plan was being drawn up there were many gaps in information. By its very nature and the processes which it entails nationwide plan-ning leads to better organisation of the available information. At the same time, planning raises new problems in the solution of which field investigations, analytical enquiries as well as staistical methods have a most important contribution to make. Accordingly, in the first five year plan a provision of Rs. 50 lakhs was made for research and investigations into economic, social and administrative problems of national development. It was proposed to organise investigations into selected problems of development in cooperation with universities and other institutions. For carrying out this programme a Research Programmes Committee consisting of leading economists and other social scienists was set up by the Planning Commission in July, 1953.

2. The Research Programmes Committee determined upon four broad categories of subjects to which programmes of research might be directed in the first instance. These were: (1) savings, investment, employment and small-scale industries, (2) problems relating to regional development with special reference to problems of rapid urbanisation, (3) land reforms, cooperation and farm management, (4) social welfare problems and public administration. la all, under the direction of the Research Programmes Committee, 64 investigations have been taken in hand through universities and other centres of study. Of these projects, for 19 reports have been received, including 4 on pilot, surveys, field investigations have been completed for 22, and field work is in progress in respect of 23 research schemes.

3. The object of investigations in the field of savings, investment, employment and small-scale industries was to study the effects of large-scale investment on river valley projects and heavy industries, the economics of small scale establishments and problems connected with savings. Individual studies were planned with a view to measuring the effects of large-scale investment projects on income and employment, the volume and types of secondary investment activity and the study of other changes likely to arise from the direct and indirect effects of such investment. Surveys of small-scale industries were intended to throw light on investment, capital output ratio and employment in these industries, the area and problems of competition between small-scale and large-scale industries, and the place of small industries in the development of the economy. The studies undertaken included investigations into employment at the Bhakra-Nangal project, socio-economic survey of Bhilai region, survey of unemployment in Travancore-Cochin, survey of urban employment and unemployment in Assam, investigations into rural incomes and savings and a number of studies of small-scale industries in selected centres.

4. Surveys of 21 cities and towns* were initiated with the object of studying two important aspects of growth, namely, rural-urban migration and employment opportunities associated with rapid urbanisation. The main purpose of these studies is to ascertain the factors which influence rural urban migration, the economic position and status of the migrants, changes in their occupational status after migration and factors that favour or impede migration.

5. The third group of subjects included 18 research schemes of which 7 related to land reforms and 11 to the economics of farm management and allied matters. Various aspects of land reform measures in Bombay, Hyderabad, Andhra, Saurashtra and Madhya Pradesh were selected for investigation. These included enquiries into the effect of abolition of intermediaries, regulation of tenancy and consolidation of holdings. Investigations in the economics of farm management were undertaken *Agra, Allahabad, Aligarh, Amritsar, Baroda, Bhopal, Bombay, Calcutta, Cuttack, Delhi, Gorakhpur, Hyderabad, Hubli, Jaipur, Jam'shedpur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Madras, Poona, Surat and Visakhapatnain. with the object of studying the relative merits of the cost accounting and the survey method, input-output relationships, the structure of costs,. capital and labour requirements of varying sizes of farms and the comparative economics of competing crops. These studies cover a wide field and are being undertaken in Uttar Pradesh, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal and Madras.

6. Studies in social welfare included investigations into the begger problem, evaluation of cultural change in a rural area and investigations into the social and economic conditions of excriminal tribes. In this field the Planning Commission also spon sored the preparation of a collection of studies on various aspects of social welfare which have been recently published by the Government of India under the title "Social Welfare in India". In the field of public administration, a study of district administration is being undertaken.

7. Early in 1955, for assisting in the preparation of the second five year plan, a Panel of Economists was constituted by the Planning Commission. Members of the Panel prepared a number of special studies which have been published by the Planning Commission under the title "Papers Relating to the Formulation of the Second Five Year Plan". These related to capital formation and the investment pattern, employment and occupation structure, problems of resource mobilisation, relationship between small-scale and large-scale industries and policy and institutional implications of the second five year plan. A series of technical and statistical studies relating to planning for National Development were also prepared at the Indian Statistical Institute and these are being published by the Institute.

8. For continuing the work of the Research Programmes Committee during the second five year plan a provision of Rs. 40 lakhs has been made. The Committee has outlined the principal fields in which further studiss might be undertaken. In view of the attention given to surveys of various kinds during the first five year plan, it is now proposed to shift the emphasis to a greater extent to analytical studies. In selecting subjects for investigation and research it is proposed to keep in view especially those problems which are likely to arise in connection with the implementation of the second five year plan. From this aspect studies in the following fields have been suggested by a sub-committee of the Research Programmes Committee.

  1. Resources for planning including questions relating to capital formation, incidence of taxation and mobilisation of small savings;
  2. Urban-rural relationships;
  3. Effects of construction projects on employment in different regions;
  4. Problems of decentralisation, including studies of what would constitute the minimum economic and social overheads necessary for ensuring decentralised development of cottage and small-scale industries;
  5. Economics of house construction;
  6. Studies of agrarian legislation, land reform and community development; and
  7. Socio-economic problems of tribal people.

It is also proposed to undertake studies regarding the structure of the Indian economy from the point of view of its long term perspective with special reference to the question of relationships between different sectors.

9. Systematic planning requires a considerable body of information relating to capital-output and capital-employment ratio, norms of output, norms of consumption for various materials, and man-power requirements in different fields of economic development. The information at present available is extremely limited and cannot yet be used to any great extent in elaborating a plan of economic development. There is need, therefore, for a large number of technical studies in which technicians, economists and statisticians are all associated.

10. During the past four years a number of important enquiries have been carried out and these have yielded a wealth of information. Special mention may be made of the Agricultural Labour Enquiry, the Population Census of 1951, the investigations and findings of the Taxation Enquiry Commission, the Rural Credit Survey and the reports of the National Sample Survey. Studies in manpower requirements in different fields of development were also initiated in the Planning Commission. Although there are several areas in which the information available is still quite insufficient for effective use in planning, considerable data are now available, and, what is not less important, a number of agencies with experience of investigation and with trained manpower at their disposal are available for carrying much further the work which has been begun during the first five year plan.


11. In the First Five Year Plan it was recommended that systematic evaluation should become a normal administrative practice in all branches of public activity. How new policies and programmes are being received and what effects they have are questions which arise at every stage in the implementation of a plan of development Evaluation is, therefore, an essential aid to policy. It may be considered to be a •branch of research which is oriented primarily to the needs of an action programme.

12. With the object of developing the techniques of evaluation, in 1952, with assistance from the Ford Foundation, the Planning Commission set up the Programme Evaluation Organisation as an independent unit for assessing the work of the national extension and community development programme. In relation to this programme the tasks entrusted to the Organisation were set out as follows:—

  1. keeping all concerned apprised currently of the progress being made towards accomplishing the programme objectives;
  2. pointing up those extension methods which are proving effective and those which are not;
  3. helping explain why some recommended practices are adopted while others are rejected by the villagers; and
  4. furnishing insight into the impact of the national extension and community development programme upon rural economy and culture.

The purpose of evaluation was, thus, to assess whether the programme was succeeding in its fundamental objectives. Evaluation was thought of as a study of extension methods and their effectiveness in reaching She people, and of changes in economic and social conditions Under the impact of the development programme.

13. The Programme Evaluation Organisation at present consists of a Director, a unit at headquarters, three regional evaluation units and 20 projects evaluation units located in different parts of the country. The project units has to assess the progress of the national extension and community development programme and to carry out field surveys and enquiries. Continuous contact is maintained with staff of the project, but reports are submitted only to the Programme Evaluation Organisation. The annual evaluation reports and the results of enquiries into particular aspects of the programme which have been prepared by the Programme Evaluation Organisation have assisted in the implementation of the community development and national extension. The Organisation has prepared three evaluation reports on the national extension and community projects which are being studied by it These reports have drawn attention to administrative and other problems which have arisen in the working of the programme at different levels, and more especially at the village level. A bench mark survey was carried out in the evaluation centres early in 1954,1000 to 1500 families in each area being specially interviewed. Further surveys are to be carried out at regular intervals so that changes which take place can be appraised. Among studies undertaken by the Programme Evaluation Organisation, reference may be made specially to those concerning the structure of village organisation, the first reactions of different sections of the village community to the programme, the extent of acceptance of improved practices, and the role and functions of the village level worker. The purpose of the enquiry into the acceptance of practices, whose results will be available in the near future, is to ascertain what practices have been adopted by villagers, how they have been persuaded to adopt them, what facilities had to be offered to encourage their adoption and how they themselves viewed the results which had been obtained. Intensive studies into the working of 23 cooperative farming societies have also been carried out and a report will shortly be published.

14. During the second five year plan, the organisation of the national extension service will spread over the entire country." Evaluation will therefore encompass the entire field of rural development and the bulk of the activities which are comprised in the district plan. With the progress of land reform, cooperation, village and small industries and with the rapid pace of urban and industrial development, fundamental changes are already taking place in the countryside. These are likely to be accelerated during the second plan. It is'of the utmost importance that social and economic changes should be analysed objectively as they occur and the impact of economic development on different sections of the rural population observed, at first hand. The need for evaluation exists in all fields of development and more especially in those in which new or expanded activities are being undertaken. In all planned development many unknown factors have to be reckoned with. Understanding of the interaction of different elements that enter into programmes which bear closely on the life of the people can be of material help in enhancing their contribution to the welfare of the community. Evaluation has, therefore, to be increasingly orientated towards studies of a selective and intensive type, motivated by and leading to purposive action. This requires that the experience of planning agencies at various levels, the ideas of specialists in particular fields and the analyses of the economist and the statistician should be brought to a common focus, not only for objective appraisal of what is being done but for evolving fresh approaches to practical problems and new lines of action. A useful beginning has been made in this direction by the Planning Research and Action Institute in Uttar Pradesh. The experience gained in Uttar Pradesh, especially in pilot project techniques, will be of interest to other States as well.


15. At the time of the formulation of the First Five Year Plan reliable statistics were lacking for many important sectors of the economy. Statistical agencies in the States were not adequately organised. Although there had been some expansion of statistical activities at the Centre during the war, no attempt had been made to build up a coordinated statistical system. Much use was not made of the older statistics for policy or administrative decisions; and, in consequence, enough attention was not given to the consistency or reliability of the data.

16. The position changed as the need for more and better statistics began to be felt after independence. "A Central Statistical Unit for the coordination of statistical work was established early in 1949. The National Income Committee was set up in the same year and its work has provided the basis for the development of statistics relating to national income. The National Sample Survey was started in 1950 as a comprehensive fact finding agency, and is collecting, on a continuing basis in the form of about two round's of survey every year much information on demographic characteristics, pattern of consumption, household production, landholdings and crop surveys, employment and unemployment, manufacturing industries, etc. in urban and rural areas, and conducting special enquiries from time to time. Extensive ad hoc sample surveys have also been initiated. Much valuable information was obtained in the Agricultural Labour Enquiry organised by the Ministry of Labour and in the Rural Credit Survey arranged by the Reserve Bank of India. The Central Statistical Organisation was set up (with which the Central Statistical Unit was merged) in 1951; and its advisory and consultative ' work has been extended to the State Statistical Bureaus. Developments also occurred in the Indian Statistical Institute, whose activities include, amongst others, a Research and Training School providing, in collaboration with the Central Statistical Organisation, Professional training in statistics at a postgraduate level and special courses for Government statisticians; a Project Branch which is looking after the technical work of the National Sample Survey and other enquiries; Statistical Quality Control Units at different places; an electronic computation laboratory with workshops; and other activities.

17. The Central Statistical Organisation has close technical links with State Statistical Bureaus, and functions as a coordinating agency assisted by a Standing Committee of Departmental Statisticians and a Joint Conference of Central and State Statisticians, which meets every year, ad hoc joint meetings being also held according to requirements. State Governments are being encouraged with the help of central grants to set Up sampling organisations in the States which would operate independently of the National Sample Survey but would work on identical schedules with the same concepts, definitions, and standards. Completely independent but strictly comparable estimates would be available in this way which would greatly improve the validity, comparability, and compliability of the data.

18. The gradual emergence of a comprehensive statistical system has been of help in the formulation of the second five year plan. In 1954 the Planning Commission agreed that a special cell should be organised in the Central Statistical Organisation to deal with the statistical work relating to planning, which would work in close collaboration with the Planning Commission, the Ministries and the operational research unit in the Indian Statistical Institute. At the suggestion of the Planning Commission the Indian Statistical Institute and the Central Statistical Organisation jointly undertook technical studies relating to planning, and a number of working papers were prepared. These were followed in March, 1955 by the preparation of a 'plan frame' containing draft recommendations for the formulation of the second five year plan.

19. The basic approach in the draft plan-frame was to build up the industries producing capital goods and to increase facilities for education, technical training, research and care of health as fast as possible which would generate increasing .purchasing power and demand for consumer goods; and at the same time to expand the production of essential consumer goods in sufficient quantities as much as possible in household and small industries in the immediate future to meet the additional demand. The right quantities of machinery, raw materials, and man-power must be available at the right time to enable the production target being fulfilled. Right quantities of essential consumer goods must also be available at the right time to meet the demand so as to avoid the dangers of inflation. The essential task .of planning would be a continuous balancing of demand and supply of machinery, materials and labour. Planning must, therefore, take care of short period balances in the form of annual plans and also work out perspective plans with a wide time-horizon of 10, 20 or 30 years and more.

20. In this type of planning an increasing volume of statistical information would be needed for the formulation of both the current and the perspective plans. Also, owing to gaps or inaccuracies of technical and statistical data, unforeseen impacts of economic conditions outside India, unexpected changes in the domestic economy and other disturbing factors it is inevitable that small or large deviations from the plan would continually occur. There would be need, therefore, to make a continuing appraisal of the implementation of the plan in both financial and physical terms and to use this information to make necessary adjustments in both the current and perspective plans. The statistical system must supply a regular flow of information which would act as a feed-back arrangement for the continuing formulation and revision of current and perspective plans.

21. The aim is to develop a statistical system which would integrate work at the Centre and in the States. Emphasis is being given not only on increasing the quantity of information but also on improving its quality. At the Centre, a special planning section has been established in the Central Statistical Organisation to look after work relating to planning. The Planning Commission has suggested to State Governments that State Statistical Bureaus should be made responsible for statistical work relating to Planning at the State level. Special schedules and reporting forms have been prepared and circulated for this purpose. The Central and State statistical agencies are being strengthened and some central assistance is being provided for this purpose. A general plan is being formulated for the coordinated development of statistics over the whole country under the guidance of the Central Statistical Organisation.

The State Statistical Bureaus could have special planning units at the State level. At the district level, there is a proposal to set up district statistical agencies according to a phased programme to improve the coverage, accuracy and timely availability of statistical data from primary sources. Arrangements are being made to organise training programmes at various levels jointly by the Central Statistical Organisation and the Indian Statistical Institute in collaboration with the statistical units in the Central Ministries and in the States.

22. The Planning Commission proposes to strengthen and expand the technical and statistical work on physical relations between demand and supply or between investment, employment and income, balances of commodities and manpower and operational research relating to planning generally and to give greater attention to perspective planning and to related statistical work undertaken in the Indian Statistical Institute. To promote coordination it has been decided to set up a joint Committee consisting of representatives of the Planning Commission, the Department of Economic Affairs (Ministry of Finance), the Central Statistical Organisation, and the Indian Statistical Institute.

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