Planning Commission replacement likely in December

The Times of India, November 30, 2014
Work has moved into top gear for finalizing the name and structure for the new institution that will replace the 64-year old Planning Commission and the same may be unveiled this December.

“The Prime Minister has convened a meeting of the chief ministers on December 7 to seek their view points on the structure of the institution which would ultimately replace the Planning Commission,” an official source said.

The commission has received many suggestions regarding the name and role of the new body. Some of the suggested names are Sustainable Development Commission, National Development Agency, Social Economic Development Commission or Bharat Pragati Lakshya. Besides, there have been reports about the new body being named as Niti Aayog or Policy Commission.

The new institution, which is likely to be headed by the Prime Minister as was the case in Planning Commission, may have four divisions — Inter-state council, plan evaluation office, UIDAI and DBT. All the divisions would have experts from the Centre and state governments as also experts from the industry.

The Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Mission earlier was part the Planning Commission but was moved to the finance ministry later.

According to sources, the new body could also be the secretariat for the inter-state council which is at present under the home ministry and met rarely during the UPA term. This council used to meet regularly during the previous NDA regime.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech had announced that the commission would be abolished and replaced with a more relevant institution.

Since then the commission has held several meetings with experts to discuss the new structure of the proposed institution.

Country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had set up the Planning Commission to steer the nation’s economic destiny at that time.

Set up by a Cabinet Resolution, the commission has enjoyed power and prestige with Prime Minister as its chairman. Its most important functions have been fixing targets for sectoral growth and allocate resources.

The deputy chairman of the commission has often been a political stalwart holding the rank of a Cabinet Minister.

Gulzarilal Nanda, V T Krishnamachari, C Subramaniam, P N Haksar, Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, K C Pant, Jaswant Singh, Madhu Dandavate, Mohan Dharia and R K Hegde had been deputy chaiman at differnt points of time. Montek Singh Ahluwalia was the last deputy chairman.

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