Government of India has replaced the erstwhile Planning Commission started in 1950 with a new think-tank institution, National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog on 1 January 2015. It works under the chairmanship of Prime Minister. NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) will seek to provide a critical directional and strategic input into the development process. It focuses on co-operative federalism.
- Chairperson:Prime Minister of India
- Governing Council:Comprising the Chief Ministers of all States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories.
- Regional Councils:Will be formed to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or region.
Strategy and Planning in the NITI Aayog will be anchored from State-level. Regional Councils will be convened by the Prime Minister for identified priority domains, put under the joint leadership of related sub-groups of States (grouped around commonalities which could be geographic, economic, social or otherwise) and Central Ministries.
Aims and Objectives
NITI Aayog will aim to accomplish the following objectives and opportunities:
- Think tank for Government policy formulation-Find best practices from other countries, partner with other countries so that they accept India.
- Cooperative Federalism- Involvement of state governments and villages in planning process.
- An administration paradigm in which the Government is an “enabler”rather than a “provider of first and last resort.”
- Progress from “food security” to focus on a mix of agricultural production, as well as actual returns that farmers get from their produce.
- Ensure that the economically vibrant middle-class remains engaged, and its potential is fully realized.
- Leverage India’s pool of entrepreneurial, scientific and intellectual human capital.
- Use urbanization as an opportunity to create a wholesome and secure habitat through the use of modern technology.
- Leveraging of India’s demographic dividend, and realization of the potential of youth, men and women, through education, skill development, elimination of gender bias, and employment
- Elimination of poverty, and the chance for every Indian to live a life of dignity and self-respect. Reddressal of inequalities based on gender bias, caste and economic disparities
- Sustainable development - Zero defect-zero effect manufacturing mantra. Urban Development - Participatory Development with support of private sector and citizens
- Inclusive Development or Antyodaya to ensure SC, ST and Women too enjoy the fruits of Development.
- Regional Councils to address “issues” for a group of states. Extract maximum benefit from NRI’s geo-economic and Geo-political strength for India’s Development.
NITI Aayog performed has been satisfactory in the following areas
- NITI Aayog has been successful in promoting “Cooperative Federalism” due to bottom to top approach
- It has developed a “Outcome-based Monitoring” of states through ranking and identification of “Champion States”, thus promoting “Competitive Federalism”
- NITI Aayog has successfully developed “socio-economic upliftment” schemes such as Sustainable Action for Transforming Health and Education “(SATH)”
- It has contributed to “innovation growth” by introducing “India Innovation Index”
- NITI Aayog has offered “knowledge on common areas” Eg: Water Index
- It has developed short and long term “plans successfully” Eg: “3 Years Action” and “15 Years Vision and Strategy” Plans
NITI Aayog performed has not been satisfactory in the following areas
- NITI Aayog is “biased” in favour of “Manufacturing” and lacks focus towards Agriculture or Services
- NITI Aayog has “not transformed” its policies and visions “into implementation”
- The “meeting of Team India” under NITI Aayog does “not take place often” and has “no visible results”
- NITI Aayog, unlike its predecessor, “does not monitor social welfare schemes in states”, like Planning commission monitor human development in the States, Sub-plans for women, SC and ST
- Like planning commission, it’s also a non-constitutional body which is not responsible to parliament.
- Any think tank has to be slightly distant from the Government. The chairman being the Prime Minister and all Chief Ministers are members of the Governing Council. The members and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog seems too close to Government on all issues.
NITI Aayog is still at infancy. Two years is a short span of time for any institution to evolve as the Planning Commission also evolved over the past 50-60 years gradually. It is trying to find out what its role should be because the role of think tank is not an easy one. There has to be awareness regarding all the constraints, be in touch with professional organizations and then decide whether a programme will work or not. Based on this, it has to give suggestions to the State Governments and Government of India. This role has not been performed by NITI Aayog, therefore, this body needs some more time. And any criticism that leads to improvement or transformation is welcome.
Thus, NITI Aayog has been successful in given time and it could do better. Statutory backing and effective implementation are the ways forward.