(Above): J Jayalalitha came down heavily on the Planning Commission whereas Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati never cared to visit the institution is why his popularity among the people is increasing.” To some, these merely sound as clichés. Detractors mention that in the one and a half years of Niti Aayog’s performance, it has hardly anything to show and that it has hardly anything to do. ere is some weight in this. e Planning Commission had a lot of say in the budget formulation in the past. But the Modi Government has
given the duty of nalising planned expenditure to the Finance Ministry. enumber of centre-sponsored projects has been trimmed down from 250 to 9. ose that have not been curtailed have been directly handed over to the related ministries. State governments have been allowed to decide their own budgets. A certain level of exibility has also been introduced in order to let states spend funds allocated for projects initiated by the Central Government. Basically, Niti Aayog has pretty little le
to do. Another BJP leader and ex-member of the Planning Commission, Sompal Singh Shastri says, “We must appreciate the vision of Modiji. Especially the Clean India campaign and the campaign for urbanization. ese, along with the Minimum Support Price for agriculture products, and clear roadmap for the achieving of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, are some of the exemplary work done by Modiji. ese were some of the issues that were considered demeaning for the Congress Party. As an ex-member of the Planning Commission, I had requested the body to focus on the depleting ground water in Western UP, but I didn’t receive so much as an acknowledgement letter from it. In contrast, Niti Aayog is focusing on even.
the minutest of problems. We are very positive about its success.” ere are only two major works that Niti Aayog has indulged itself into. First is to create an outline of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in the place of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG). e second is to come to a conclusion about what to do when the 12th Five Year Plan
comes to an end. What direction will the country take aer the completion of the 12th Five Year Plan, was a big question. e Commission has come up with three separate proposals. One of the proposals is to extend the same goals for a longer period, which have been nalised by the Modi Government for its Sustainable Development Goal till the year 2030. is is in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals nalised by the United Nations. e Commission was also asked to nalise 17 goals and the roadmap of its realisation through relevant ministries. is has already been ful lled by the Commission. Among the nalised goals under SDG, the rst and the foremost is to eradicate all sorts of poverty by the year 2030.
Niti Aayog’s roadmap is con dent that poverty of all sorts will be eradicated by the year 2030.For this, as many as ve programs, including the National Rural Livelihood Mission and MANREGA, have been earmarked. As many as nine ministries will be involved in the implementation process. Similarly, to eradicate hunger-deaths, the National Food Security Program, Mid-Day Meals and seven other programs have been earmarked through seven dierent ministries. Quality of life, better education, eradication of gender-bias and availability of electricity to all are some of the other targets. e second proposal is to form a long term program. is program will include the National Development Agenda, which will run till 2023-24. ere will be a mid-term assessment in three years’ time. e third proposal is to form a three years’ plan which will complete its goals by the end of the tenure of the 14th Finance Commission by the year 2019-2020. Its primary focus is to spread out its achievement for the voters who will vote in the2019 elections. Cabinet Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says, “When we say Congress-free India, what we mean is what BJP President Amit Shah has so eloquently explained – that is
to eradicate elements of Congress-like functioning, to eradicate those problems that the Congress ignored.
THAT THE BASIC IDEA BEHIND THIS BODY IS TO REDEFINE THE CENTRESTATE RELATIONSHIP BY TAKING STATE GOVERNMENTS INTO CONFIDENCE
is slogan is against that mentality that puts the individualbefore the country.” An ex-bureaucrat maintains that the basic idea behind this body was to rede ne the Centre-state relations by taking state governments into con dence.
“e relationship had deteriorated to such a level during UPA II that Chief Ministers from non-UPA states stopped going to the Planning Commission altogether.Not that states that had UPA governments had any better luck. States had to beg togets funds released for the Centrally funded schemes. Niti Aayog will monitor, coordinate and ensure implementation of the globally accepted Sustainable Development Goals. It has also been nominated as the nodal body that will bring the 17 development goals into action across India. e
SDGs are aimed at eradicating all forms of poverty,” he added to good measure. ere are contrasting opinions of the performance of NitiAayog in its lifetime of a year and a half. e jury is still out. It willprobably take some years before a clear judgement can be passed on its functioning.For now, all seems well.