The 65 year old Planning commission was on 1st Jan 2015 replaced by a new body, NITI (National Institution for transforming India) Aayog, which server as a policy think – thank for the central as well as state governments and have PM as its chairperson.
Objective of NITI Aayog
NITI Aayog will serve as a ‘Think – tank’ for the central as well as state government and will provide strategic and technical advice across the spectrum of key elements of policy, which include matter of national and international importance on the economic front, dissemination of best practices from within the country as well as from other nations, infusion of new policy idea and specific issue based support.
Approach of NITI Aayog
The NITI Aayog will follow up ‘bottom – up’ approach where the body will support formulation of plans at the village level and aggregate them at higher levels of government. In short, the new body is envisaged to follow the norm of cooperative federalism giving room to state to tailor schemes to suit their unique needs rather than be decided by the centre. This means recognition of the country’s diversity. E.g. the needs of a state such as Kerala with its high developed social indicators may not be the same as that of Jharkhand. Now state will for the 1st time have a say in setting their development priorities.
NITI Aayog is based on 7 pillars of effective governance:
- Pro-people: fulfills aspirations of society as well as individual.
- Pro-active: in anticipation of and response to citizen needs.
- Participation: involvement of citizens.
- Empowerment: women in all aspects.
- Inclusion of all: SC, ST, OBC and minorities.
- Equality: of opportunity for the youth.
- Transparency: making government visible and responsive.
Structure of NITI Aayog
- Prime Minister to be the chairperson.
- Vice-chairman and a CEO, full time members
- Up to 2 part time members from leading universities and research organizations.
- 4 union ministers as ex-officio members
- Governing council comprising all chief ministers and Lt. Governor
Constitution wise and in term of objectives not much has changed with the setting up of NITI Aayog. Function wise, however, the NITI Aayog has to define its own role carefully but at the same time limit its direct intervention in the Indian Economy. It can serve as a foundation for rethinking tax authorities for sub national governments, improving the efficiency of govt. expenditure at all level, decentralizing where possible and streamlining and integrating the system of intergovernmental transfers. This conceptual reform program would be ambitious but extremely beneficial for improving governance quality and increasing economic growth.
Author: Ashwani Kr