Decentralized Planning in India

What is Sectoral Planning and Spatial Planning? When planning is done with a vision and mission to develop a particular sector only then the plan becomes a Setoral Plan. In Setoral Planning excessive concentration is given in economic activities of the metropolitan regions. In India it has benefitted the growth and development of Metro regions but failed to develop the rural and backward regions. In India 70% of the people live in rural area. To develop India the plan should be made to develop the rural regions which should include development plans for all the sectors influencing the region.

Since development of one sector leads to impact on several sectors a comprehensive plan is to be prepared considering all the side effects and impacts on the related sectors other than concentrating on a particular sector. This has become a necessity in present scenario for the development of India. This concept of planning leads to the concept of Spatial Planning. Spatial planning refers to the methods and plans used to influence collectively the distribution of people and activities over a region in various scales. It is the consideration of what can and should happen in a region.

It investigates the interaction of different policies and practice across regional space, and sets the role of places in a wider context. In Spatial planning, for a region the key influencing sectors are identified and a comprehensive plan is prepared considering all the sectors with proper coordination at various levels of inter-actions. Local development can be achieved thorough spatial planning approach, where in key development sectors are synergically co-ordinated. It is of utmost importance to prepare urban/local development plans with a long-term perspective by targeting various development sectors.

Such a spatial plan is classically referred to as a Development Plan or Master Plan. Planning Process in India The planning system in India was more centralized one. In centralized planning, the mechanism remains at the top level only giving importance to compensation or damage control model, it had ignored people’s participation on the whole. Again the Indian planning system was allocative and sectoral in nature. Thus lack of spatial concern in economic planning has resulted in unbalanced development. Therefore based on various discussions held in this regard, efforts were made to decentralize the planning system. The most mportant event in the history of decentralised planning process in India was the promulgation of 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts on December 22nd 1992 conferring constitutional status to Local Self-Government Institutions (LSGIs) aiming to devolve functional and fiscal powers to the local bodies. Spatial Planning – A Comprehensive Approach for Local Development India has been engaged in farsighted economic planning since independence. Despite the considerable achievements of the Five Year Plans, very little constructive attention has been paid to the spatial aspects of social and economic change taking place in the country.

The functional character of an area is determined by the aggregate functions of all sectors of economy concentrated there. Development of an area, therefore, requires a deliberate coordination of at least a few key sectors which was missing in planning efforts. Need of Spatial Planning National Commission on Urbanization (NCU), 1988 rightly identifies the need of spatial planning. Each investment, whatever is the sector, has a definite physical manifestation and geographical location. Also, it generates a chain of developmental impulses affecting, in several cases, the activities of other sectors and results in a related spatial pattern.

For example, the impact of investment in an irrigation project, a large dam (in the agricultural sector), on other sectors can be identified at two stages – (i)During the construction of the Dam and (ii) After completion of the Dam. During the first stage, the reservoir of the dam will cause displacement of village and people. This will demand a resettlement plan for displaced persons and a new spatial order. This work would need the co-ordination of the spatial planning sector (Figure 1. 1).

Local development has to be achieved thorough spatial planning approach, where in key development sectors are synergically co-ordinated. The second stage generates three chains of developmental impulses. (i)Generation of hydroelectric power, which needs co-ordination with power sector. (ii)Development of water sports and tourism requiring integration with the tourism sector. (iii) Development of agriculture and this, on one side, increases area under intensive cultivation which will enhance demands for more agricultural inputs like fertilizers and also agricultural implements (e. . Tools and tractors),. This will be resulting in industrial development and, hence co-ordination with the industrial sector. On the other side, the agricultural development increases marketable surplus, requiring ware housing, processing, marketing and roads. This will give rise to the development of processing and marketing centres, which will effect changes in the existing settlement functions, activities, hierarchy and spatial pattern. This in turn would require co-ordination with the spatial planning sector.

Development of rural roads will require co-ordination and integration with the transport sector and since land use and settlement pattern are closely related to transportation network, it will further need co-ordination with the spatial planning sector (Figure 1. 1). Similar cases of chains of developmental impulses generated by investments in one sector affecting the activities of other sectors can be identified”. All these factors are taken care of in Spatial Planning. Figure 1. 2 shows an area where a new irrigation project has been commissioned.

If we consider the impact of this project on other sectors a number of scenarios may be evolved. Figure 1. 3 shows a possible change in the same area shown in Figure 1. 2 after the completion of the project. This is just one of the possibilities and there may be more scenarios on the line, depending on many factors, including the availability of resources, both natural and human and local needs etc. The assessment of needs and availability of resources can be best done at the grass root level.

The Grama sabhas, the working groups and the Committee/ Council of the Local Self Government Institution shall indeed provide the platform. The assessment of local needs and availability of resources in an area combined with impact study of investments on other sectors would enable to take decisions on the type of activities that would be most suitable for the development of the area. Then comes the important part of determining the most suitable locations for these activities, essentially services and nfrastructure facilities, which thoroughly depends on the land use pattern of the area. This further emphasizes the need for spatial planning. It is clear that through planned interventions, one can specifically determine the type of activities and their locations, which are most suitable to develop at any given area at a given point of time so that they can create synergic developmental impulses leading to the formation of a required spatial pattern.

If the developmental impulses and ensuing spatial pattern resultant of a particular activity can be foreseen, that indeed will provide the vision or perspective, which is at the moment lacking in our decentralised planning process. Thus local development, one of the major objectives of decentralized planning process, can be attained only when deliberate co-ordination of at least a few key sectors is ensured depending upon the character of the area. This means that, sectoral decentralized planning presently in practice is actually de-concentrated Planning and true decentralized planning can be achieved only through spatial planning approach.