Urkal Reporter|7 Dec 2014
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave a new thrust to the quest for an effective replacement to the Planning Commission, describing “Team India” as a combination of three teams – the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers; the Union Council of Ministers; and the bureaucracy in the Centre and States. He was delivering the opening remarks at a consultation meeting with Chief Ministers on the subject of replacement of the Planning Commission.
Invoking the spirit of “cooperative federalism”, the Prime Minister said that the current global scenario offered a chance for India to take a big leap forward. The Prime Minister called for abandoning the incremental approach. He stressed on the need for a suitable body to replace the Planning Commission, so that the strengths of the country can be suitably harnessed.
The Prime Minister said the question of role, relevance and restructuring of the Planning Commission had been repeatedly questioned for more than two decades. The first introspection was done after the launch of economic reforms, in 1992, when it was felt that in light of changing Government policy, a different approach was required. In 2012, the Parliamentary Consultative Committee stressed the need for a serious look at the Planning Commission and the need for a new body to replace it. The former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, had stressed the need for a relook at the Planning Commission towards the end of his term, Shri Narendra Modi added.
Further, the Prime Minister said that when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had attended meetings of the Planning Commission, and had felt the need for a better platform to articulate the view of states. The Prime Minister said that development is now a priority for all, and the time has come to develop a new mechanism to deliver growth and development.
Shri Narendra Modi said it is impossible for the nation to develop unless states develop. He said the process of policy planning also has to change from “top to bottom” to “bottom to top.” The Prime Minister also noted that in countries such as the USA, thinktanks that function independently of the Government have a major role in policy-making. He said that in India too, there is a great deal of economic activity that happens outside the Government setup, and there is a need to design policies for them as well. He said that states should have a key role in the new body to replace the Planning Commission. He added that states sometimes feel there is no platform to express their views. He also said there should be an effective mechanism to address inter-state disputes.
“Can we develop a new mechanism, that plans according to India’s strengths, empowers states, and brings on board all economic activity, including that which happens outside the Government,” the Prime Minister asked, as he set the tone for the discussion in today’s consultation meeting. He said the views that states express in today’s meeting would prove valuable in shaping the new body to replace the Planning Commission.