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'NITI Aayog': New Name for Restructured Planning Commission

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'NITI Aayog': New Name for Restructured Planning Commission

FILE photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi:  India's Planning Commission will be renamed "NITI Aayog" as part of a restructuring plan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech.

'NITI' is an acronym for "National Institution for Transforming India," said officials.

The new plan body, sources say, will have up to five full time members and four union ministers.

The permanent members are expected to be experts from various fields.

The change comes almost 65 years after India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a socialist who admired Joseph Stalin's drive to industrialize the Soviet Union, set up and chaired the Commission to map out a development path for India's agrarian economy.

The panel reported directly to the Prime Minister, who was its chairman.

Earlier this month, PM Modi held discussions with chief ministers on replacing the body with a 'Team India' concept that would give states a greater role in developing Asia's third largest economy.

There was no consensus among chief ministers. Those from Congress-ruled states said the plan panel should be reinvented rather than scrapped and replaced. States ruled by the BJP and its allies agreed to the restructuring, but insisted on a greater role in policy-making.

The Centre and states also failed to agree on whether Five-Year Plans and the annual state plans should be retained or dumped.

There was broad consensus, however, on the need to strengthen federalism and give states more powers and greater flexibility to implement programmes.

All states had agreed that the principle of "one-size-fits-all" for schemes and programmes does not work.

The opposition Congress has criticised the restructuring plan, calling it "shortsighted and dangerous".


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