After extensive consultation across the spectrum of stakeholders including State governments, domain experts and relevant institutions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had promised to get rid of Nehruvian Era legacy --Planning Commission, gave life to ruling BJP’s “Bharatiya” aspirations the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) few days ago.
The NITI Aayog will work towards many objectives, mainly to evolve a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States in the light of national objectives.
Though the main opposition Indian National Congress Party quickly disapproved the Modi Govt’s decision to rename the Planning Commission, it is now up to the Centre to prove it is not a futile exercise, as claimed by Congress, by injecting new blood in the centuries’ old institution.
According to the structure, the institution will serve as ‘Think Tank’ of the Government-a directional and policy dynamo.
NITI Aayog will provide Governments at the central and state levels with relevant strategic and technical advice across the spectrum of key elements of policy, which includes matters of national and international import on the economic front, dissemination of best practices from within the country as well as from other nations, the infusion of new policy ideas and specific issue-based support.
The Planning Commission was set up on March 15th, 1950 through a Cabinet Resolution. Nearly 65 years later, the country has metamorphosed from an under-developed economy to an emergent global nation with one of the world’s largest economies.
Until now, Planning Commission remained just a body of elites and never even tried to understand the grass-root level problems of Indians. Having grasped the understanding the common man and the visible disconnect between Raja and Prajah, Prime Minister Modi evolved a workable mechanism of NITI Aayog, which is undoubtedly envisaged to link the planning and execution parts between the Centre and states.
Until government systems are completely revamped, there is a Plan versus non-Plan distinction in expenditure, not quite the same as the revenue versus capital distinction.
However, now the ball is in the court of Centre to prove NITI Aayog is better than Planning Commission in transforming India.
Undoubtedly, its going to be a tough challenge for Prime Minister Modi to prove beyond any shred of doubt.
Only time will tell whether NITI Aayog is old wine in new bottle or really brand new vision in new avatar.