Down to Earth
Era begins without plan
NITI Aayog formally begins its business without a vision or an action plan |
Wend of the 12th Five Year Plan on March 31, India’s 65-year tryst with fiveyear economic development planning has come to an end. In 2014, when the National Democratic Alliance government scrapped the Planning Commission and replaced it with the National Institute of Transforming India (niti) Aayog, it announced that the five-year plan, a top-down planning process, would be replaced with a vision document, which will bring states to act together in national interest, and thereby foster cooperative federalism. But on April 1, when officials reach the newlypainted and renamed office building of niti Aayog in Lutyens’ Delhi, they would be clueless about the task at hand.
“We are neither aware of the timeline of the vision document nor its contents and when it will come into force,” says a niti Aayog member who does not wish to be named. While some niti Aayog officials tell Down To Earth that the vision document would provide a three-year strategy, others speculate that it would cover a period of seven or 10 years.
Former Planning Commission members, who agree with the government’s decision of doing away with the institution, are critical of this void in the planning process. “Development plans need to be formulated