11 February 2019 ~ 0 Comments

A new Niti Aayog?

A new Niti Aayog? Former finance secretary and ex-Finance Commission chairman Vijay Kelkar has suggested a revamp of Niti Aayog and creating a new organization 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 Planning Commission with the Niti Aayog, which was deliberately designed to differ from its predecessor the Planning Commission. According to sources, Mr Kelkar has argued in a paper that the proposed new entity be used to do the job at hand related to the 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 to the government. Funding is the sole purview of the Finance Ministry, unlike with the Planning Commission, which could also allocate funds. Secondly, it cannot impose policies for state governments to follow, again something where the Planning Commission had a strong say. Mr Kelkar has suggested that 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 knowledge-based advice and provide a long-term perspective on policy proposals. Will the government take the view of an eminent economist and ex-bureaucrat on board?

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