The planning commission was established in March 1950 by an executive resolution of the Government of India i.e., (the Union Cabinet) on the recommendation of the Advisory planning board constituted in 1946, under the Chairmanship of K.C. Neogi.
Thus, the Planning Commission is neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body. In other words, it is a non-constitutional or extra- constitutional body (.e., not created by the Constitution) and a non- statutory body (not created by and Act of Parliament). In India, it is the supreme organ of the planning for social and economic development.
Functions and Role
The executive resolution of March 15, 1950, assigned the following functions to the Planning Commission.
To make an assessment of material, capital and human resource of the country and investigate the possibilities of augmenting them.
To formulate a plan for the most effective and balanced utilization of the country's resources.
To indicate the factors with retard economic development.
To remind the nature of the machinery required for successful implementation of the plan in each stage.
To appraise, from time to time, the progress achieved in execution of the plan and to recommend necessary adjustments.
To make appropriate recommendations for facilitating the discharge of it’s duties, or on a matter referred to it for advise by Central or State governments.
The Planning Commission is only a staff agency - an advisory body and has no executive responsibility for taking and implementing decisions.
The responsibility rests with the Central and State Governments.
The following point can be noted in context of the composition (membership) of the Planning Commission.
The prime minister of India is the ex- officio Chairman of the Commission. He presides over the meeting of the Commission.
The commission has a Deputy Chairman. He is the de facto executive head i.e., (full-time functional head) of the Commission. He is responsible for the formulation and submission of the Five-Year Plans to the Central Cabinet. He is appointed by the Central Cabinet for a fixed tenure and enjoys the rank of a Cabinet Minister. Though he is not a member of the Cabinet, he is invited to attend all the meeting (without a right to vote).
Some Central Ministers appointed as a part-time members of the Commission. In any case, the Finance Minister and Planning Minister are the ex-officio (by virtue of) member of the Commission.
The Commission has four to seven full-time expert members. They enjoy the rank of a Minister of state.
The commission has member-secretary. He is usually a senior most IAS officer.
The state governments are not represented in the Commission in any way. Thus, the Planning Commission is wholly a centre constituted body.