The Asian Age

60% plan panel staff to go?

- MUKESH RAN­JAN

With a Cab­i­net pro­posal be­ing worked out to rein­vent the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion to meet the new eco­nomic chal­lenges the coun­try is fac­ing to­day, the min­istry of plan­ning has sent a de­tailed draft note to the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice ( PMO) sug­gest­ing trim­ming of the panel’s staff strength by 60 per cent and clos­ing all the af­fil­i­ate or­gan­i­sa­tions bar­ring In­de­pen­dent Eval­u­a­tion Of­fice ( IEO) and Unique Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Au­thor­ity of In­dia ( UIDAI).

As per the note, sources said, out of the to­tal staff strength of about 1,200, only around 500 ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees would be re­quired to run the panel in its new avatar, which will have the pri­mary role of pro­vid­ing “long- term eco­nomic and de­vel­op­men­tal vi­sion” to the gov­ern­ment.

“The rest of the staff is be­ing ac­com­mo­dated in their par­ent cadre. How­ever, there is a prob­lem in ad­just­ing about 250 em­ploy­ees, who have been di­rectly re­cruited by the com­mis­sion. But dis­cus­sions are on to find ways to ac­com­mo­date them in the gov­ern­ment sys­tem,” sources said, adding that most of the “con­sul­tants and young pro­fes­sion­als” hired on con­tract have been put on no­tice and asked to look for al­ter­na­tive jobs.

The draft pro­posal has sug­gested hand­ing over the role of the ex­ist­ing state di­vi­sion of the plan panel to the fi­nance min­istry. “The al­lo­ca­tion role of the com­mis­sion is be­ing de­cided to be given to the ex­pen­di­ture depart­ment of the fi­nance min­istry. Thus the role played by the state di­vi­sion in co­or­di­nat­ing and al­lo­cat­ing fund to the states would then be done by the fi­nance min­istry,” sources said.

Sim­i­larly, all the 35 tech­ni­cal de­part­ments deal­ing with dif­fer­ent sub­jects like in­fra­struc­ture, ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, agri­cul­ture, health, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion etc should now be at­tached with the re­spec­tive min­istries, the note sug­gested.

As far as at­tached of­fices of the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, in­clud­ing Eco­nomic Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil to the PM, Na­tional Rain­fed Au­thor­ity of In­dia and Na­tional In­sti­tute of Labour Eco­nomics Re­search and De­vel­op­ment ( for­merly known as IAMR), are go­ing to be dis­man­tled.

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