Panel Demands More Scrutiny of Niti Funds
Niti Aayog, planning ministry haven’t tabled in LS detailed demands for grants
development. Incidentally, there have been whispers in some Opposition campsthattheyarekeento scrutinise whether or not some outfits enjoying patronage of Sangh Parivar are discreetly tapping resources at Ayog’s and ministry’s disposal.
Cutting across party lines, most members felt if the panel discussed the demands for grants of the two departments by overlooking absence of their detailed demands for grants and annual reports, it will go “against the convention/rules set by the Speaker” andalsosetan“unhealthyprecedent” forotherministriesanddepartments. The panel wondered if other ministries and departments could place their detailed demands for grants and annual reports in the House, why the Aayog and planning ministry could notdothesame.“Itmaybeduetoigno- rance or unproductive audacity,” said a member after the meeting. As soon as Kant and his team appeared before the panel, BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab is learnt to have objectedtoAyog’sattitudeandopposed the panel processing its demands for grants. Even as Kant tried to explain, BJP member Nishikant Dubey raised
OF LITTLE HELP
the same objection. Mahtab, Dubey and some members then said in the absence of a detailed demands for grants and annual reports, the panel would not be able to do a macro/micro processingof allottedfunds/spending and submit report of the two departments. They reminded the officials in 2016, the Aayog and ministry failed to presentannualreport. Former PM Manmohan Singh said Kant may have come prepared to discuss details, but it did not help dilute objection of other members. They were not agreeable to the explanation thatsincethebudgetpresentationwas advanced, the financial year was still not over for presenting the detailed demandsforgrantsandannualreport They also refused the offer for an “informal discussion” on demands for grants saying the House panel could only discuss “formally presented documents and data in House for preparing its report to Parliament.
AfterchairmanVeerappaMoilyconcurred with the dominant view, Kant and his team had to return without discussing demands for grants.
Kant was not available for comment when ET phonedhim.