NITI Ayog is the new name of the Planning Commission
The Narendra Modi government’s move to replace the Planning Commission with the NITI Aayog has taken a political twist with the Congress alleging that it was aimed at doing away with Jawaharlal Nehru’s legacy. The main Opposition party said the changes proposed by the government could have been made in the existing Planning Commission.”Taking into account BJP’s hatred for Nehru and his legacy, I am of the opinion without any element of prejudice that the only purpose of replacing the Planning Commission was to de-link the former prime minister’s association with the plan panel,” said Congress’s Bhalchandra Mungekar, who was a member of the Planning Commission.Recalling that Nehru had established the body 64 years ago despite resistance from within Congress, he said it had laid down the foundation of India’s economic development and even non-Congress governments, including the Vajpayee regime, refrained from scrapping it. However, Mungekar admitted that having worked in the Planning Commission, he was aware of its shortcomings and limitations and that it did require changes in terms of reference besides mode of functioning consistent with a globalised economy.”But the changes made now in the NITI are not far reaching and could have been made in the Planning Commission,” he said.Modi had in his Independent Day speech at Red Fort sought public opinion on a new plan panel, sparking off an angry reaction from the Congress.The Left parties dubbed the NITI Aayog as a “regressive step” saying that though in the old Planning Commission the states had no say, the Modi government’s claim of the new one being based on cooperative federalism was a “spurious” one.”The National Development Council is replaced by a governing council which is a powerless body of a think-tank. That think tank will be under the prime minister and the Prime Minister’s Office. This is a centralised unitarian structure,” the CPM politburo said.It said that underlying the abolition of the concept of the Planning Commission is the Modi government’s ideological conviction that public resources should be put at the disposal of the private sector and market forces. “With this the role of the State in ensuring the citizens the fundamental rights and fulfilling the Directive Principles of the Constitution regarding education, health, food security and livelihood, is being abandoned,” the statement said.Meanwhile, BJP welcomed the government’s decision with party president Amit Shah saying the government on very first day of the year 2015 has gifted the NITI Ayog to nation and it will work as “Team India”.
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