This is a book by a professional as opposed to an armchair planner. The title of the book is suggestive, as is the beginning. ‘Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less travelled by’, (Frost), raising expectations that fresh insights would be provided regarding the future course of regional as also urban planning in India. The book itself, however, disappoints. The main thrust is on an enumeration of what has been achieved in the past along with an exposition of the structure and objectives of the various central and state level bodies set up in this field. It is important here to define the word ‘Planning’. The general understanding is that planning connotes action based on human (fore) thought but it also includes within itself the process of formulation of that thought. The implication drawn is that the starting point should not only be the mechanics of planning but also the need and objectives of planning. The basic objective of planning is to promote the maximum dignity of the individual in a manner which does not cause discrimination between its citizens either on the basis of their place of residence or their position in the socio-economic hierarchy.
Then regional level planning comes in order to identify the special characteristics of a region which are favourable or inimical to economic growth in order to use this information to lay out a developmental path in harmony with its social and cultural background, the aim being to allow equitable development of the regions while minimizing the backwash effects which normally follow in the wake of economic development.