Reinventing the Planning Commission was a clarion call at a roundtable organised here today. “The baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater”.
The role and relevance of Planning Commission has been a hotly debated issue since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office.
Amidst this ongoing debate CUTS International Public Policy Centre today organised a roundtable to gather views on the subject with an aim to create an informed debate.
The session was kicked off by Dr Ajay Chhibber, Director General, Independent Evaluation Office and Dr Pronab Sen, Chairman, National Statistical Commission, both of whom have been in the news recently concerning the reforms of the Commission.
There is a need for systemic reforms and innovation said Chhibber, while backing the report prepared by him. Pronab Sen highlighted that some of the functions of the Planning Commission can only be discharged by a body like the Commission. He argued that independent appraisal and mediation are some of the key roles that Planning Commission performs and it is difficult to envisage any other body doing the same.
In a lively discussion that saw participation of parliamentarians like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Jayant Chaudhary and Rangasayee Ramakrishna, there were also other experts who shared their point of view.
Some of these echoed that the reform of the Commission should entail a predominant think tank role and that necessary powers must be given to the body so that its role is taken seriously in the future. While some other opinions unanimously suggested that the functions related to the allocation of funds be best vested with the Finance Commission.
The event was the first policy retreat under the banner of CUTS International Public Policy Centre which was inaugurated on 4th of July in Jaipur, a part of CUTS International, which already has centres working on trade, economic regulation and competition, governance, amongst others.
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