NITI AYOG – A FEW CLARIFICATIONS
Goodbye Planning Commission:
India, after independence, chose mixed economy. Pure capitalist economy was not
feasible due to scarce and shy domestic private capital to finance ambitious Mega
projects of development. Pure communist model was also not considered suitable in
the backdrop of Indian Entrepreneurial culture and paucity of investible surplus
with the state.
Hence a mid –way was adopted. Planning Commission of National level was established
in 1950.It was a feature of communist economy where no private capital was there
and state was the exclusive owner of capital. What was planned could be implemented
by the state with iron hand of a dictator. But India was a democratic soft state
with fundamental rights of individuals in Indian Constitution. Therefore, what was
planned could not be executed with an iron hand of a dictator.
There was wide gap between planned targets and real achievements. Then, the preamble
to our constitution talked about India as a democratic socialist state. We had two
major self contradictions:
Macro level planning without dictatorial power to execute it and
Democracy and socialism- really obvious bad fellows.
No socialist country had a democratic government and fundamental rights of individuals,
except India. We earned a name as a country of excellent planners but very poor
Further, the queer mixture of private and public sectors in mixed economy has led
to growth of crony capitalism and crèche capitalism. The state power was misused
to serve personal and party interest by greedy rent seekers. Therefore, NDA Government
headed by Shri Narendrabhai Modi must be complimented for their bold decision to
wind up Planning Commission. In fact, planning commission had lost its relevance
totally after adoption of liberalization, privatization and globalization (LPG).
Policy in 1991. The former P.M. Manmohan Singh had realized this but could not decide
due to fetters on his authority as P.M. The Yojana Bhavan was considered to be a
safe and free vehicle parking place in New Delhi. No tears need to be shed on this
long awaited decision. It deserves happy good by with a smiling face.
(2) Welcome Niti Ayog:
Now the new
institution to replace Planning Commission is NITI AYOG which has taken birth on
January 1, 2015 through a cabinet resolution.
extend hearty welcome to new baby, we have to clarify certain issues raised in Media
Mismatch between Hindi and English Names.
it is named as a National Institute to Transform India.NITI is an acronym. In Hindi,
it is named as “NITI AYOG” as written on new sign board. Hindi name “NITI
AYOG” when translated into English becomes Policy Commission. The first
issue raised regarding mismatch between Hindi and English names of the newly born
institution is valid. In order to avoid legal and administrative problems in future
the Govt. Of India may consider the following solution suggested by the author.
“NITI AYOG” (“Bharat ke rupantaran hetu ek rashtriya sansthan”)
Policy Commission (A national Institution to transform India)
The same composition – is it old wine in new bottle?
minister will be ex-officio chairman of the new institution also. Vice –chairman
will be a noted economist with cabinet minister rank. Four cabinet ministers of
Govt. Of India will be ex-officio members. Three cabinet ministers will be special
invitees. Vice chairman and one noted economist and one ex-bureaucrat have been
made full time members of the commission. The governing council will replace national
development council. But it will have all state chief ministers and lieutenant Governors
of Union Territories as ex officio members as in the past.
AYOG will have full time secretary. Special invitees from various fields may be
nominated by the prime minister. It is also provided that special regional councils
may be constituted in the body.
the organization structure and composition of new body presents no major change.
It may be considered broadly true that old wine is presented in new bottle as far
as its composition is concerned.
issue needs careful examination with impartial and independent mind. Since prime
minister is Chief Executive officer responsible to implement recommendations, he
being ex- officio chairman of the new body means he will be CMD (Chairman-cum-Managing
Director) in corporate parlance.
All the weaknesses
or limitations of CMD system as compared to separate part time non executive chairman
may creep into the new organization also. We have to be cautious of it.
economy, including Indian Economy has a bitter experience of putting great reliance
on competence of noted economists. It would have been more prudent to have tried
alternative domain expertise like management/Technology to achieve the purpose of
transforming India. Now – a- day’s people call economists as ANARTH SHASTRIS. Faith
in foreign returned economists is very weak because they apply U.S. solutions to
We must welcome
good policy practices and knowledge from any part of the globe. But we should also
remember India’s rich cultural heritage treasure available in shanti parva, vidur
niti in mahabharat epic, chanakya niti, ram rajya model of good governance in ramcharitmanas
which have great contemporary as well as eternal relevance for rulers without any
limitation of time and space being eternal truth.
Roles and responsibilities of new body not clear.
appeared in media may be summed up as follows:-
The new institution
will serve as a “directional and policy dynamo” it will provide the govt.
(Centre and State) strategic and technical advice on key policy matters.
It will prove as a “Policy think tank ‘for the Central and State governments.
Modi has tweeted “A Pro-people, pro-active and participative development agenda
on empowerment and equality is the guiding principle behind NITI AYOG.We
bid farewell to a “one size fits all” approach towards development .The body
celebrates India’s diversity and plurality “it will emerge as an active and important
institution that will play a pivotal role in India’s development journey in the
years to come.”
resolution establishing NITI AYOG makes a significant mention of cooperative federalism
recognising that strong states make a strong nation. It will also interact
with national and international think tanks and with educational and policy research
It is true
that strong states make a strong nation. But it is equally true that a strong centre
is also needed to be a strong Nation. State govt. And central govt. must be strong
in the areas of function earmarked for them in Indian Constitution.
Is it a policy
think tank for governments only? Nothing is mentioned about its relationship with
private sector which will be required to play a leading role in implementing macro
level policy at micro level. True that vested interest groups must not find place
in NITI AYOG. Inputs from private sector business leaders and their representative
associations may be welcome in govt.’s business policy formulation. Open public
participation must be there.
We may suggest
a simple and transparent statement on the following lines:
statement: The NITI AYOG will transform India by 2025.
statement: The transformed India means
Freedom from corruption, black money, inflation, low productivity, growth, inequality,
unemployment, injustice, insecurity.
Spiritual and cultural global leadership, vibrant India – prosperous, peaceful and
system: Cooperative federalism, strong states, strong centre, strong nation,
sab ka sath sab ka vikas .Holistic and inclusive, justice and fair play, Equality
social justice competence, excellence loyalty to nation etc.
To identify pressing problems and to develop alternative solutions, analyze them
and recommend decisions.
To visualize problems, idea generation to prevent them.
To act as think tank for policy, strategy and tactics formulation.
To recommend /advise the centre and state govt’s, on policy strategy and tactics
to resolve problems faced by people.
To act as special think tank to advice on solving specific problems of specific
To provide technical support in planning, programming, scheduling and targeting.
To provide technical support in project execution, monitoring, evaluation and review
system development and installation, organization structure design, organization
development, process Re-engineering, etc.
To interact with national and international think tank and research organization/individual
Thus it will be a recommendatory body on policy, strategy and tactics or strategic
management of India’s transformation to a global leadership.
above statement is illustrative and not exhaustive.
(4) How does it help the cause of good governance promised by Shri Narendra Modi?
keenly interested to know how NITI AYOG helps the cause of good governance. It is
a welcome change from mere planning to policy formulation. No well deliberated policies
and strategies will go a long way in serving the cause of good governance in the
form of freedom from corruption, inflation, unemployment, insecurity and delayed
costly justice. India’s rich cultured heritage is revived and India again becomes
Vishwa spiritual Guru. Education to earn money may be preceded by education to make
good human beings and responsible citizens.
If we borrow
from corporate governance, the structure of governance of nation should take the
Govt.’s will be accountable to their Boards and the state Governments will be accountable
to voters. 65 years we have spent on planning with the weak execution .The NITI
AYOG should lead to national consensus on major policy issues and elected leaders
must ensure honest, faithful and speedy execution with devotion, dedication and
be put above party and personal interests. Words must be translated into action.
Politicians must remember that either in power or opposition, they must safeguard
public interest. Otherwise if they act irresponsibly when in power they will be
voted out and if in opposition they will become irrelevant.
of planning – Do we need now?
Commission has been wound up a relevant issue is being debated, “Do we need a minister
for planning? At first glance, with the closure of Planning Commission, Ministry
for planning becomes redundant. But Planning as first function of management can’t
be wished away. Without Plan, other functions of management can’t be performed effectively.
Policy, strategy, tactics, planning, programming and control are intertwined. Nomenclature
of ministry of planning may be changed to ministry for strategic management or strategic
policy and its role and responsibilities may be redefined. It may serve as a link
between cabinet and NITI AYOG.
of Business Management,