The Narendra Modi government on Thursday changed Planning Commission’s name to ‘Neeti Ayog’ (Policy Commission). The decision comes nearly three weeks after Narendra Modi held consultations with chief ministers at a meeting where most favoured restructuring of the Socialist-era body. The Prime Minister’s proposal to replace the Planning Commission with a new institution got a boost with all the 18 non-Congress chief ministers including those from UP and Tamil Nadu supporting the idea.According to reports, the decision to rename the Plan Panel was taken at Cabinet meeting on Monday. The new body will comprise the office of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the inter-state councils and Programme Evaluation. An official announcement to this effect is likely to be made later today.The Prime Minister in his Independent Day speech last year had announced that the Planning Commission would be replaced by a new body which is in sync with the contemporary economic world. The Planning Commission had suggested to a group chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that its replacement body should be structured to meet the need of changing economic paradigm and comprise sectoral experts and states’ representative.Earlier, in a presentation made by Planning Commission secretary Sindhushree Khullar, sketching role of new institution, he had said instead of the sector-wise budget allocations to the states so far done through the Planning Commission, the new institution will have the basic role of monitoring and appraisal of the projects and schemes to ensure the best use of the money spent by the government and recommend changes wherever it finds lacuna.The concept paper circulated at the meeting also envisaged the new institution to have 50% representatives of the state governments as its 8 to 10 regular members, while other positions will be filled by the independent non-government environmentalists, financial experts, engineers, scientists and other eminent scholars form different fields. Alike the Planning Commission, the prime minister will continue to be its chairman ex-officio.
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