The social and economic aspects of development were emphasized by leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, as is reflected in their copious writings and speeches. A notable case in point was Nehru's celebrated ‘Tryst with Destiny’ address on the eve of India's emergence as a sovereign democratic entity. Subsequently, when India embarked on the path of planned development, the five-year plans were envisaged as an agency for both economic and social development. As the planning process unfolded, the social aspects of development became explicit, and there was a specific articulation of objectives and allotment of resources.

It was against this backdrop that the Planning Commission agreed to sponsor a study of social ...

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