Spot the change: Modi’s NITI Aayog isn’t very different from Planning Commission

The government has set up NITI Aayog, a think-tank that will replace the Planning Commission. According to a government press release, the new body is the result of “extensive consultation” the Centre held with state governments, domain experts and other relevant institutions.

The move is the first major step taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in order to break away from the Socialist legacies in the matters related to economy and development. The Planning Commission, established by Jawaharlal Nehru 65 years ago to formulate Five-Year Plans, has been criticised for being a Socialist era vestige, which became irrelevant in a more globalised and market-focussed economy.

NITI Aayog has been set up “to provide a critical directional and strategic input into the development process”. It will act as a “think-tank” and advise the Centre and states on policy matters. The Aayog seeks to end “slow and tardy implementation of policy, by fostering better Inter-Ministry coordination and better Centre-State coordination”, the press release says. It will also monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes. NITI stands for National Institution for Transforming India.

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