Essay on NITI Ayog in India
The government on January 1, 2015 replaced the 65-year-old Planning Corn mission – a relic of the Socialist era – with a Niti Aayog or National Institution for Transforming India, marking a major shift in policy making by involving states. The Aayog will recommend a national agenda, including strategic and technical advice on elements of policy and economic matters. It will also develop mechanisms for village-level plans and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government. To be headed by PM Narendra Modi, the new body will have a governing council comprising CMs of all states and Lt Governors of Union Territories and will work towards fostering co-operative federalism for providing a national agenda to the Centre and states.
The membership of states has rendered the National Development Council, a body of CMs that approves five-year Plans, defunct. Former secretary of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) VK Saraswat and economist Bibek Debroy are appointed as full-time members. The Aayog will have finance minister Arun Jaitley, home minister Rajnath Singh, railway minister Suresh Prabhu and agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh as ex-officious members. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Thawar Chand Gehlot And Smriti Irani are special invitees to the panel.
Birth of a New System
Prime Minister Modi has declared that his government will dissolve the Planning Commission in his first Independence Day speech in 2014. He substantiated his decision with former PM Manmohan Singh’s opinion, who felt India has lacked foresight after introducing reforms. He has put forward a new idea called ‘Cooperative Federalism’.
The NDA government has started its discussion with experts, right after it came Into Power. The first Independent Evolution Office (lEO) Assessment Report was Submitted to the PM on May 29, three days after he was sworn in. The report had categorically recommended the replacement of Planning Commission with a Control Commission.
The NDA government has minimised the funds and functions of Planning Commission as a first step towards its annihilation. It directed the important central ministries and departments to submit their planned budget estimation to the Central Government directly. On January 1, 2015 the new body named NITI Aayog has replaced the Planning Commission with immediate effect.
Structure of NITI Aayog
The NITI Aayog was established by a resolution of the central government. It will Be governed by the Governing Council and will have a team chaired by the Prime Minister.
Governing Council: Governing Council is the highest body of NITI Aayog. It consists of following members:
1. Prime Minister of India as the Chairperson
2. A Vice-Chairperson and a CEO, nominated by the Prime Minister
3. The Chief Ministers of all the states and Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories
4. Members: Two (Full-time)
5. Part-time members: Maximum of two from leading universities research organizations and other relevant institutions in an ex-officio capacity. Part-time members will be on a rotational basis
6. Ex Officio members: Maximum of four members of the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister
Aims and Objectives
NITI Aayog will seek to provide a critical directional and strategic input into the development process by consulting the states, Centre and different stakeholders. Its aims and objectives are as following:
- The top-down centre-to-state one-way flow of policy, that was the hallmark of the Planning Commission era, is now sought to be replaced by a genuine and continuing partnership of states.
- NITI Aayog will emerge as a think-tank that will provide Governments at the central and state level with relevant strategic and technical advice across the spectrum of key elements of policy.
- The body will also seek to put an end to slow implementation of policy, by fostering better Inter-Ministry coordination and better Centre-State coordination. It will help evolve a shared vision of national development priorities and foster cooperative federalism, recognizing that strong states make a strong nation.
- The NITI Aayog will develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans to the village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government. It will ensure special attention to the sections of society that may be at risk of not benefiting adequately from economic progress.
- The NITI Aayog will create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and partners. It will offer a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the development agenda.In addition, the NITI Aayog will monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes, and focus on technology up-gradation and capacity building.