15 August 2014, Indian prime minister Shri Narendra Modi said: “India of today is a dynamic and creative state and we as the government must adapt to the changing times.”
These words have resonated well across the country, originating from the red fort, Delhi. Planning commission formed in 1950 stood the test of times and through this wonderful journey led India to this transformed state that it is today.
But as our honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi stated that India has grown and today, “We need a team of the PM of this country working along the chief ministers of various states.” He spoke at length of how “We need a platform where the centre can connect with the states.”
Hence NITI Aayog, National Institute for Transforming India was established replacing Planning Commission as the think tank of government on January 1, 2015, as a means to better serve the needs and aspirations of the people of India.
The basic principle of NITI Aayog is the fact that it replaces the one-way policy of Union to states with a partnership.
What is NITI Aayog?
Which is the new think tank of government replacing Planning Commission? It works on the principle of cooperative federalism.
Headed by the Prime Minister of the country, and a vice chairman nominated by the PM. It has chief ministers of all the states and Lieutenant governors of all the union territories except Delhi and Pondicherry.
It also has leading Scholars from various Institutions and experts in the various fields as temporary members of the Aayog.
As the current vice chairman of Niti Ayog, Arvind Panagariya states “Niti Aayog is the step to end the distinction between plan and nonplan expenditure.”
Functions of NITI Aayog
Finance minister of our country Arun Jaitley once said, “Each state has its own weakness and strengths. And no single commandment can apply to all.” Niti Aayog addresses this issue and has the following functions:
- It aims to provide a national agenda for the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to provide impetus to.
- The onus to create a knowledge Innovation and Entrepreneurship support.
- The responsibility to offer a platform for resolution of interceptor in interdepartmental issues
- Also to maintain a state of the art resource centre
- Focus on technology improvement in capacity building for implementation of programs and initiatives
- Undertaker other activities as may be necessary in order to further the execution of national development
Major achievements of NITI Aayog:
The scrapping of 5-year plans.
NITI Aayog has done away the five-year plans undertaken by Planning Commission. It has come up with a 15-year plan with interim targets at 7 and 3-year marks for reducing poverty and improving health and sanitation.
NITI Ayog has formulated a Model Agricultural Land Leasing act 2016 which recognizes the rights of the Talent and safeguards the interest of landowners. Further Niti Aayog has made reforms in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act.
- Reforming medical education
NITI Aayog has recommended bill Council of India and suggested a new body for regulating medical education.
- Digital Payments Movement
NITI Aayog suggested going for cashless transactions promoting the BHIM app and also launching incentive schemes in lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana. Digi Dhan Melas also had 100 days in 100 cities.
- Atal Innovation Mission
With a view to strengthening the Innovation and Entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country by creating institutions and programs that promote innovation, the government has set up Atal innovation mission which has the following major schemes:
Atal tinkering Labs
Atal incubation centre
- Transforming India lecture series
NITI Aayog launched the “NITI lectures: transforming India” series with the full support of the Prime Minister addressing the top policy-making team of the Government of India including members of the cabinet and several top players of the bureaucracy.
- Task force on agricultural development
The task force for agricultural development has functions like raising productivity, providing remunerative prices to farmers and responding to farmers distress. While these efforts by the government all audible and quite efficient. The task of moving to the 15-year plan is the most excruciating of all. Therefore we shed some more light on the 15-year plan initiative.
Overview of the 15-year vision plan.
The new plan was drawn by NITI Aayog text input from both the states and Central Ministries.
The plan is accompanied by shorter sub plans,
- A 7-year strategy for 2017-24 as the National Development agenda
- A 3-year action agenda from 2017-18 to 2019-20 is also under works to assess funding requirements
All the details of the plan have not been made public yet, a draft of the plan as provided by the vice chairman of Niti Ayog outline the following features:
- Rapid growth
India aims to more than triple the size of its economy increasing the per capita income by nearly 3 times. NITI Aayog predicts more than 8% per annum growth of the economy.
- An NGO portal
According to the plan, NGO Darpan portal, this portal is to be used by various departments and more than 27000 NGO’s. A unique ID provided by the portal is necessary for any grants and transfers.
- Switching calendar year
Niti Aayog has suggested switching the financial year to January December since our country depends heavily on agriculture.
- Holding simultaneous elections
Niti Aayog has suggested holding the elections to State assembly and Lok Sabha simultaneously across the country. This will help to avoid unstable policies due to cascading tenures of governments.
- Urban population growth
Niti Aayog predicts the growth of urban population by over 22 crores in the next 15 years. Therefore the need of the time is to draft policies in sync with the urbanization of the country.
Rest assured, as the vice chairman of Niti Ayog Dr. Panagariya states, “we are looking at a very bright future.”