A NEW NITI AAYOG?

Deccan Chronicle - - Oped - Dilip Che­rian

For­mer fi­nance sec­re­tary and ex-fi­nance com­mis­sion chair­man Vi­jay Kelkar has sug­gested a re­vamp of Niti Aayog and cre­at­ing a new or­gan­i­sa­tion which, un­like the present avatar, can al­lo­cate cap­i­tal and rev­enue grants to the states. In­ter­est­ingly, the sug­ges­tion has come less than five years after the gov­ern­ment re­placed the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion with the Niti Aayog. Mr Kelkar has ar­gued in a pa­per that the pro­posed new en­tity be used to do the job at hand re­lated to struc­tural is­sues in­clud­ing re­moval of re­gional im­bal­ances in the econ­omy. He has noted that re­plac­ing the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, which was pro­mot­ing re­gion­ally bal­anced growth in In­dia, by the Niti Aayog, a think tank, has re­duced the gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy reach. The think tank does not have pow­ers to al­lo­cate funds and can only make rec­om­men­da­tions. Fund­ing is the sole purview of the Fi­nance Min­istry, un­like with the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion. Se­condly, it can­not im­pose poli­cies for states to fol­low, again some­thing where the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion had a strong say. Mr Kelkar has sug­gested that the Niti Aayog can be more ef­fec­tive if it is em­pow­ered to be part of the high­est de­ci­sion-mak­ing in the gov­ern­ment. His ver­sion of the new Niti Aayog will pro­vide the high­est-level knowl­edge­based ad­vice and pro­vide a long-term per­spec­tive on pol­icy pro­pos­als. Will the gov­ern­ment take note?

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