This is the first time that it is asking civil society to identify the challenges and areas that require special focus
The Planning Commission is involving leading non-governmental organisations and civic society, seeking their inputs, suggestions and experiences, for preparing its approach paper for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), which will be the base document for the Plan itself.
Though NGOs had been giving their suggestions for the previous Five Year Plans, this is the first time the Planning Commission has sought the engagement of civil society, asking it to identify the challenges and areas that require special focus, so that the Plan document was more holistic in nature and could help in yielding desired results.
“This time the Planning Commission has initiated a structured process… In its meeting held in October this year, the Planning Commission invited around 30 civil society organisations and shared their plan to ensure their participation in the formulation of the 12th Five Year Plan approach paper,” said a senior functionary of an NGO involved in the process.
Apart from Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, members Syeda Hameed, Arun Maira, Mihir Shah, and Abhijit Sen, along with the Principal Advisor to the Commission Pronab Sen played crucial roles in the initiative.
“It was very evident in the meeting that the Planning Commission wants to work with civil society groups and ensure that their voices are represented in the process, particularly in the context of marginalised sections of society,” he added. The outcome is the result of constant engagement of leading NGOs like Centre for Budget Governance and Accountability, Social Watch, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, Oxfam India, and their campaign partners with the Planning Commission during the 11th Five Year Plan's mid-term review.
The Planning Commission had asked civil society groups to hold 15 consultations across India on various social issues and issues relating to marginalised groups. Already three such meetings have taken place on issues related to adolescents, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and transgenders — on tribal issues at Tilda in Raipur (Chhattisgarh); and on the urban poor in Nagpur.
Similarly, more such consultations are planned on various topics this month. These include issues related to the northeast, at Shillong; women's issues and migrants/displaced people, in Chennai; the elderly, in Mumbai. Similarly, Delhi will hold meetings on issues related to youth, children, Dalits, conflict, Muslims and the disabled. After the consultations, a report will be submitted to the Planning Commission incorporating all the inputs, which will be utilised in the drafting of the new Plan.