The Planning Commission, although no longer active (since it was replaced by the NITI Aayog), was an important feature of policy making and governance in India.
Planning Commission Dissolution
Though it played a vital role in India’s emergence from a beaten country during the days of the Raj to an independent nation with ambitious developmental goals, the Commission has often been accused of being a soviet-styled bureaucratic body that stifled economic growth. In 2012, the commission received flak for spending about Rs.35 lakhs for renovating two toilets and then suggesting that the country’s citizens who spent more than Rs.27 per day were not poor.
In 2014, it was replaced by NITI Aayog, a more robust organisation. It is more like a think-tank that works with stakeholders for developing the country.
Planning Commission Background
Planning Commission of India was an organization in the Government of India, which formulated India’s Five-Year Plans, among other functions. The planning commission was charged with the service of the opportunities to all for employment in the service of the community.
The Planning Commission was reporting directly to the Prime Minister of India. It was established on 15 March 1950, with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the chairman. The Planning Commission did not derive its creation from either the Constitution or statute but was an arm of the Central/Union Government.
The Planning Commission was set up by a Resolution of the Government of India in March 1950. The prime objectives of the Government were to propel a rapid increase in the living standard of Indians by the productive exploitation of the country’s resources, raising production and securing opportunities for everyone for employment in the service of society. The Planning Commission was assigned the responsibility of assessing all the resources of the country, enhancing scarce resources, drafting plans for the most productive and balanced usage of resources and ascertaining priorities. Pandit Nehru was the first Chairman of the Planning Commission.
The first Five-year Plan was launched in 1951 and subsequent Five-year plans were formulated till 1965 when a gap occurred due to the war with Pakistan. 2 consecutive years of drought, rupee devaluation, a general hike in prices and depletion of resources derailed the planning process and after Annual Plans from 1966 to 1969, the 4th Five-year plan was started in 1969.
The Planning Commission which has a legacy of 65 years has been replaced by the NITI Aayog. The utility and significance of the Planning Commission had been questioned for a longer period. The replacement seems to be more relevant and responsive to the present economic needs and scenario in the country.
NITI Aayog Evolution
The NITI Aayog was formed on January 1, 2015. In Sanskrit, the word “NITI” means morality, behaviour, guidance, etc. But, in the present context, it means policy and the NITI stands for “National Institution for Transforming India”. It is the country’s premier policy-making institution that is expected to bolster the economic growth of the country. It aims to construct a strong state that will help to create a dynamic and strong nation. This helps India to emerge as a major economy in the world. The NITI Aayog’s creation has two hubs called “Team India Hub” and “Knowledge and Innovation Hub”.
Objectives of NITI Aayog
- The active participation of States in the light of national objectives and to provide a framework ‘national agenda’.
- To promote cooperative federalism through well-ordered support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on an uninterrupted basis.
- To construct methods to formulate a reliable strategy at the village level and aggregate these gradually at higher levels of government.
- An economic policy that incorporates national security interests.
- To pay special consideration to the sections of the society that may be at risk of not profiting satisfactorily from economic progress.
- To propose strategic and long-term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives, and review their progress and their effectiveness.
- To grant advice and encourage partnerships between important stakeholders and national-international Think Tanks, as well as educational and policy research institutions.
- To generate knowledge, innovation, and entrepreneurial support system through a shared community of national and international experts, etc.
- To provide a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues to speed up the accomplishment of the progressive agenda.
- To preserve a state-of-the-art Resource Centre, be a repository of research on good governance and best practices in sustainable and equitable development as well as help their distribution to participants.
- To effectively screen and assess the implementation of programmes and initiatives, including the identification of the needed resources to strengthen the likelihood of success.
- To pay attention to technology improvement and capacity building for the discharge of programs and initiatives.
- To undertake other necessary activities to the implementation of the national development agenda, and the objectives.
7 pillars of effective governance envisaged by NITI Aayog
The NITI Aayog is based on the 7 pillars of effective Governance. They are:
- Pro-people: it fulfils the aspirations of society as well as individuals
- Pro-activity: in anticipation of and response to citizen needs
- Participation: involvement of the citizenry
- Empowering: Empowering, especially women in all aspects
- Inclusion of all: inclusion of all people irrespective of caste, creed, and gender
- Equality: Providing equal opportunity to all especially for youth
- Transparency: Making the government visible and responsive