by Smita Anand
In the process of delivering a stronger India, Modi took initiative and replaced the Planning Commission with NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) and a whole new governing council. He recently led the first ever meeting of this newly-incorporated body.
Role of states in the progress of a nation is too important to be sidelined. The first meeting was held somewhere on this line to bridge any existing gap between the Center and the state governments and to look forward to a better rapport between the NITI Aayog and various institutions to ensure better development and growth for India.
The newly-formed body hosts a panel of experts and advisers from various fields to offer suggestions to the state governments as well as the Center; although the final decisions will duly depend on the governments.
According to reports, PM Narendra Modi offered to transfer some of the 66 center-sponsored schemes, for which a sum of Rs.3,38,562 crore was provided in 2014-15, to states.
Reflecting upon the role of NITI Aayog toward development of India, the body will form three main specialized sections that include Research, Consultancy, and Team India. The three teams will work upon conceptualizing new development programs and streamline bottlenecks to contribute toward making a better India, advising the central and state governments on various issues and provide funding as well. Team India will be a group comprising of representatives from every state and ministerial department meant to work together on one platform and discuss issues related to states, combat it together and contribute toward a more healthier growth.
When the 65-year old Planning Commission was replaced by the NITI Aayog, the reactions did not seem quite favorable. But gradually, with new governing body and a panel of experts, things have started to look promising.
First meeting of NITI Aayog was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and co-ordinated by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The meeting was opened by NITI Aayog’s Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya.
Stressing on the Aayog’s objectives, Modi remarked that the development solely depends on the co-operation between the ministers of all the states and they should forget differences for the sake of development, growth and better reforms. He added that the whole idea was to bring up all the states together with an aim of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’.
While the Chief Ministers of all the states made their presence in the meeting, West Bengal was seen giving a miss with Mamata Banerjee not joining.
As this decision of Mamata Banerjee to skip the NITI Aayog’s first meet earned strong remarks, it was later justified by her party spokesperson, Derek O Brien stating, “Has the BJP government really thought this Niti Aayog out? We think not. Dismantling the Planning Commission in a hurry without taking states into confidence is not the way forward. So when the concept itself was hurriedly introduced without consultations, why meetings now?”
The replacement of The Planning Commission without any prior consent and consultation with other ministers did send a wrong wave but Modi’s positive stand in the meet on the accounts of development, reforms and growth hinted that it was a well-thought step rather than a decision made in haste.