key tools in national economic planning. Plan indexes reflect the political and economic tasks of plans in the form of concrete targets, and the calculations necessary to these tasks. In the USSR there is a single, coordinated system of indexes. It encompasses all aspects of the activity of enterprises and sectors and of the economies of Union republics and economic regions. In addition, it includes general indexes of the process of expanded socialist reproduction and the increase in public well-being. The system of indexes is developed on the basis of the general principles of national economic planning, in the interests of proportional and efficient economic development and of ensuring that plan assignments are directive and broken down by department, as well as with a view to combining the sectorial and territorial breakdowns of the plan.
The general list of indexes for the national economic plan is established by the State Planning Committee (Gosplan of the USSR). The lists of indexes to be applied to particular sectors are compiled by the ministries and departments, and indexes for the territorial breakdown of the plan are determined by the councils of ministers of the Union republics.
There are two basic groups of plan indexes: endorsed indexes, which are compulsory targets for all enterprises and organizations, and calculation indexes, which are used to validate and reconcile plan targets.
The endorsed plan indexes in the national economic plan include all the basic targets that determine the rate and proportions of economic development, including the volume of production and marketable output, indexes of increased production efficiency, the development of sectors in the service sphere, and improvement in the standard of living. The calculation indexes for the plans include detailed lists of output, jobs, and services; an extensive system of technical and economic norms and standards (equipment productivity, expenditure of material resources and labor); and balance calculations.
The fundamental principles of regulating the system of plan indexes are the same for both long-term and annual plans. The five-year plans, however, are provided with a limited, consolidated range of indexes, and the annual plans with a relatively detailed, specific set. For example, the national economic plan for the year endorses targets for the production of more than 2,000 types of industrial output and includes itemized lists for 400–500 major new construction projects. The indexes for the long-term plans are more condensed.
The set of plan indexes is periodically adjusted, taking into consideration the chief tasks anticipated in the plans for the mastery of the production of new types of output. For example, in the national economic plans of the ninth five-year plan (1971–75), targets were significantly expanded for raising the standard of living, increasing production efficiency (especially labor productivity, return on assets, and efficiency of capital investments), and reducing specific norms for the expenditure of raw and processed materials and fuel.
Plan indexes may be divided into 11 groups, according to their role in socialist reproduction. The first group, which is related to population and to labor and its use, includes population size; the number of factory and office workers, kolkhoz members, pensioners, and other population categories; labor productivity; and available work time. The second group, which is under the rubric of fixed assets, includes the existence and introduction of fixed assets, as well as production capacities and the degree to which they are utilized (return on assets). Related to working capital, the third group of indexes includes balances and plans for the distribution of raw and processed materials and fuel, expenditure norms for material resources per unit output, and standards for reserves of working capital.
The rubric for the fourth group—scientific and technological progress—subsumes the development of the network of scientific institutions and the volume of scientific research, the total introduction of scientific and technological advances into production, and the efficiency of these advances. The fifth group of indexes is related to the volume of industrial output and the volume of shipping, and the sixth, to the volume of capital investment and of construction and installation. The financial indexes (the seventh group) include the cost of output and distribution; profit and level of profitability; income and expenditures of the state, enterprises, and organizations; economic funds; personal income and expenditures; and various financial standards.
The eighth group of plan indexes is related to the standard of living and the level of sociocultural development. It includes real per capita income; the wages of factory and office workers and payments to kolkhoz members; payments and benefits from public funds; the level of consumption of goods; retail trade; and the provision of housing, municipal services, and the amenities, as well as the development of public education and health. The ninth group of indexes deals with protection of the environment and the use of natural resources, and the tenth, with national economic proportions, the efficiency of social production, and the balances of the social product and the national income. The eleventh group, which is related to foreign economic ties, includes the total volume of exports and imports, by commodity groups; indexes of scientific and technological cooperation; and indexes of the economic integration of the members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
The list of indexes established in national economic plans is subsequently expanded and differentiated by the ministries and departments of the USSR and by the councils of ministers of the Union republics. Higher-ranking organizations endorse only the basic targets for enterprises; the plan indexes are entirely determined by the enterprises in their technical, production, and financial plans (tekhpromfinplany). The plan indexes for enterprises are relatively detailed and reflect the specific features of each sector of production. They describe the process of production and marketability of the output or services of a particular enterprise, and its interdependence with related sectors and with national economic needs.
In terms of their economic content, plan indexes fall into two basic groups: natural (in-kind) indexes, which characterize the material structure of production, and cost indexes, which determine the overall rate and proportions of development, the creation and use of incomes, and so forth. Cost indexes are calculated to describe the existing economic relations in current prices; comparable prices are used to measure change over time. Plan indexes are also classified as quantitative and qualitative indexes. The former reflect the production of output in physical units; the latter describe the structure and economic efficiency of production and the productivity of labor and equipment.
All plan indexes should be organically linked to the system of economic incentives, which includes price formation and the organization of economic accountability. For the purposes of national economic planning, it is necessary that plan and report indexes be the same. Guided by plan targets, the Central Board of Statistics of the USSR establishes a set of report indexes and stipulates the rules and times for reporting, to ensure continuous control over the fulfillment of plans.
The ever-increasing tasks of planning in the stage of developed socialist society demand further refinement of the system of indexes.
REFERENCESMetodicheskie ukazaniia k razrabotke gosudarstvennykh planov razvitiia narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR. Moscow, 1974.
Planirovanie narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1973. Chapter 2.
P. N. KRYLOV