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Friday, Aug 27, 2004

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Planning process

A recent decision of the Government announced quietly without any fanfare is the move to associate not only the private sector chiefs but also the officials of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in the planning process of the country.

It is stated that for the first time the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank officials will be formally associated in the planning process. Its implications do not seem to have been appreciated by this Government. While the association of the private sector chiefs in their chosen fields in the planning process is understandable in the current environment of public-private partnerships, there is little rationale for associating the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank officials. Of course, it is universal knowledge that the multilateral agencies play an overwhelming part in the formulation of economic and financial policies of the developing countries.

This does not mean that one should invite them to sit on the internal committees to guide countries such as India on how to plan, which projects to select and how to go about doing their work.

This militates against national prestige. The top bureaucracy economists are noted for looking with admiring eyes at whatever that emanates from these powerful multilateral agencies. These organisations may give the top bureaucrats ample opportunities to get post-retirement positions.

Subramanyan Sundaresan

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