[Policy & Planning] What is NITI AAYOG ?

  • Replacing Planning Commission.
  • NITI == NATIONAL INSTITUTION FOR TRANSFORMING INDIA
  • Will serve as a think tank of the Government-a directional and policy dynamo.
  • NITI Aayog will provide Governments at the central and state levels with relevant strategic and technical advice across the spectrum of key elements of policy, this includes matters of national and international import on the economic front, dissemination of best practices from within the country as well as from other nations, the infusion of new policy ideas and specific issue-based support.

WHY TO CHANGE THE EXISTING SYSTEM?

The challenges we face as a country have also become more complex:
  • India’s demographic dividend has to be leveraged fruitfully over the next few decades. The potential of our youth, men and women, has to be realized through education, skill development, elimination of gender bias, and employment. We have to strive to provide our youth productive opportunities to work on the frontiers of science, technology and knowledge economy.
  • Poverty elimination remains one of the most important metrics by which alone we should measure our success as a nation. Every Indian must be given an opportunity to live a life of dignity and self respect. The words of Tiruvalluvar, the sage-poet, when he wrote that “nothing is more dreadfully painful than poverty”, and “gripping poverty robs a man of the lofty nobility of his descent”, are as true today as they were when written more than two thousand years ago.
  • Economic development is incomplete if it does not provide every individual the right to enjoy the fruits of development. Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya had enunciated this in his concept of Antyodaya, or uplift of the downtrodden, where the goal is to ensure that the poorest of the poor get the benefits of development. Inequalities based on gender biases as well as economic disparities have to be redressed. We need to create an environment and support system that encourages women to play their rightful role in nation-building. Equality of opportunity goes hand in hand with an inclusiveness agenda. Rather than pushing everyone on to a pre-determined path, we have to give every element of society – especially weaker segments like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes - the ability to influence the choices the country and government make in setting the national agenda. In fact, inclusion has to be predicated on a belief in the ability of each member of society to contribute. As Sankar Dev wrote centuries ago in the Kirtan Ghosh: “To see every being as equivalent to one’s own soul is the supreme means (of attaining deliverance)”.
  • Villages (Gram) continue to be the bedrock of our ethos, culture and sustenance. They need to be fully integrated institutionally into the development process so that we draw on their vitality and energy.
  • India has more than 50 million small businesses, which are a major source of employment creation. These businesses are particularly important in creating opportunities for the backward and disadvantaged sections of the society. Policy making must focus on providing necessary support to this sector in terms of skill and knowledge upgrades and access to financial capital and relevant technology.

  • Responsible development implies environmentally sound development. India is one of the mega-diverse countries. Our environmental and ecological assets are eternal, and must be preserved and safeguarded. The country’s legacy of respect for environment is reflected in our reverence for trees and animals. Our legacy to future generations must be sustainable progress. Each element of our environment (paryavaran) and resources, namely water, land and forest (Jal, Jameen evam Jungle) must be protected; and this must be done in a manner that takes into account their inter-linkages with climate (jal vayu) and people (jan). Our development agenda has to ensure that development does not sully the quality of life of the present and future generations.

WHAT IS EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE?

Effective governance in India will rest on the following pillars:
  1. Pro-people agenda that fulfils the aspirations of the society as well as individual,
  2. Pro-active in anticipating and responding to their needs,
  3. Participative, by involvement of citizens,
  4. Empowering women in all aspects
  5. Inclusion of all groups, with special attention to the economically weak (garib), the SC, ST and OBC communities, the rural sector and farmers (gaon and kisan), youth and all categories of minorities.
  6. Equality of opportunity to our country’s youth,
  7. Transparency through the use of technology to make government visible and responsive.

OBJECTIVES:

The NITI Aayog will work towards the following objectives:
  • To evolve a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States in the light of national objectives. The vision of the NITI Aayog will then provide a framework ‘national agenda’ for the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers to provide impetus to.
  • To foster cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis, recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.
  • To develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government.
  • To ensure, on areas that are specifically referred to it, that the interests of national security are incorporated in economic strategy and policy.
  • To pay special attention to the sections of our society that may be at risk of not benefitting adequately from economic progress.
  • To design strategic and long term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives, and monitor their progress and their efficacy. The lessons learnt through monitoring and feedback will be used for making innovative improvements, including necessary mid-course corrections.
  • To provide advice and encourage partnerships between key stakeholders and national and international like-minded Think Tanks, as well as educational and policy research institutions.
  • To create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and other partners.
  • To offer a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the development agenda.
  • To maintain a state-of-the-art Resource Centre, be a repository of research on good governance and best practices in sustainable and equitable development as well as help their dissemination to stake-holders.
  • To actively monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes and initiatives, including the identification of the needed resources so as to strengthen the probability of success and scope of delivery.
  • To focus on technology upgradation and capacity building for implementation of programmes and initiatives.
  • To undertake other activities as may be necessary in order to further the execution of the national development agenda, and the objectives mentioned above.

WHO ARE THE PART OF NITI AYOG ?

The NITI Aayog will comprise the following:

  • Prime Minister of India as the Chairperson
  • Governing Council comprising the Chief Ministers of all the States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories
  • Regional Councils will be formed to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or a region. These will be formed for a specified tenure. The Regional Councils will be convened by the Prime Minister and will comprise of the Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in the region. These will be chaired by the Chairperson of the NITI Aayog or his nominee.
  • Experts, specialists and practitioners with relevant domain knowledge as special invitees nominated by the Prime Minister
  • The full-time organizational framework will comprise of, in addition to the Prime Minister as the Chairperson:
  1. Vice-Chairperson: To be appointed by the Prime Minister
  2. Members: Full-time 
  3. Part-time members: Maximum of 2 from leading universities research organizations and other relevant institutions in an ex-officio capacity. Part time members will be on a rotational basis.
  4. Ex Officio members: Maximum of 4 members of the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister. 
  5. Chief Executive Officer: To be appointed by the Prime Minister for a fixed tenure, in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
  6. Secretariat as deemed necessary.

ANTI ARGUMENTS:

  1. It may become a “PMO Commission” as all powers in this government were with one person, Prime Minister.
  2. It would further push the country into a market-driven economy and privatisation in all spheres at the expense of diluting even the present inadequate welfare schemes.
  3. Allocations to the States would be decided by the Finance Ministry, which would subject them to the political whims of the Union government.
  4. It dangerously opens new doors for political bargaining and deal-making
  ### Eminent Economist Arvind Panagariya appointed as NITI Aayog vice-chairman

    Eminent free-market economist Arvind Panagariya has been appointed as Vice-chairman of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.
    NITI Aayog is established by government to function as both a think tank and a policy forum and replaces decades year old Planning Commission.
    As a vice chairman, he will play a pivotal role in coordinating economic strategy and hold position similar to cabinet rank minister.
        About Arvind Panagariya
        He is an Indian-American economist and Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Economics from prestigious Princeton University.
        He was an ex-Chief Economist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
        He has also worked for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in various capacities.
        He has written around 10 books and the latest was India: The Emerging Giant published in 2008.
        Other Appointments of NITI Aayog
        Full-Time Members:
      • Bibek Debroy- Economist. 
      • V.K. Saraswat- Former Secretary Defence R&D. 
      • Ex-officio members:
      • Rajnath Singh- Union Home Minister. 
      • Arun Jaitley- Union Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting Minister. 
      • Suresh Prabhu- Union Minister of Railways. 
      • Radha Mohan Singh- Union Minister of Agriculture. 
        Special Invitees:
      • Nitin Gadkari- Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping. 
      • Thawar Chand Gehlot-Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment. 
      • Smriti Zubin Irani- Union Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD).

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