Know your Ministry - No. 47 - Planning - Niti Aayog

Ministry of Planning is responsible under institutional capacity is exercised through the central agency called NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India).On 1 January 2015, a Cabinet resolution was passed to replace the Planning Commission with the newly formed NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India).  NITI Aayog's mandate is to support the Union Government and the states in transforming India by promoting Cooperative Federalism fostering the involvement of all State Governments in the economic policy-making process using a bottom up approach. NITI Aayog is developing itself as a State-of-the-art Resource Centre, with the necessary resources, knowledge and skills, that will enable it to act with speed, promote research and innovation, provide strategic policy vision for the government, and deal with contingent issues.

The Governing Council of NITI, with The Prime Minister as its Chairman, comprises Chief Ministers of all States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories (UTs). In addition, temporary members are selected from leading universities and research institutions. These members include a chief executive officer, four ex-official members, and two part-time members. The agency's Vice Chairman holds a Cabinet Minister equivalent rank. It primarily provides policy inputs to the highest decision making bodies. Through its monitoring and evaluation division, it monitors all national and state schemes to provide annual review to the Prime Minister and India Budget. It also provides its comments on all major schemes before being approved by the Finance Ministry.

Objectives

  • To evolve a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States.
  • 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 benefiting 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.
  • Attached /Autonomous Bodies: National Institute Of Labour Economics Research And Development (NILERD) and Development Monitoring & Evaluation Office (DMEO)

NITI Aayog's entire gamut of activities is clustered into four main heads:

  1. Design Policy & Programme Framework
  2. Foster Cooperative Federalism
  3. Monitoring & Evaluation
  4. Think Tank and Knowledge & Innovation Hub.

The different verticals of NITI provide the requisite coordination and support framework for NITI to carry out its mandate. The list of verticals include Agriculture, Health, Women & Child Development, Governance & Research, HRD, Skill Development & Employment, Rural Development, Sustainable Development Goals, Energy, Managing Urbanization, Industry, Infrastructure, Financial Resources, Natural Resources & Environment, Science & Technology, State Coordination & Decentralized Planning (SC&DP), Social Justice & Empowerment, Land & Water Resources, Data management & Analysis, Public-Private Partnerships, Project Appraisal and Management Division (PAMD), Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office and National Institute of Labour Economics Research and Development (NILERD)

OPPORTUNITIES FOR NITI AAYOG & WAY FORWARD

  • Need to extend its role as an advisory body into a supervisory and reporting mechanism for all Ministries.
  • Composition of Governing Council should include bureaucrats having exemplary and unblemished track record along with experts in the field of Economics, Finance, Banking, Technology, Law, etc as consultants on permanent basis.
  • Autonomy to the institution needs to be strengthened so that all the members can provide free and fair advice to the planning independently.
  • NITI Aayog should be established in all State Capitals which would advise based on evaluation of region based problems in place of Inter-State Council. It would enable to act as a repository of best practices to wholeheartedly engage the State Heads to raise up all issues to provide them advocacy support in resolving matters pending with the Union Ministries.
  • To plug all the deficiencies in its role functions of its members as mere endorsers of policies and schemes of the Governments than independent technical advisers of their respective domains.
  • To redefine and enlarge the principle functions of the NITI Aayog from its present activities as reporting mechanism to a problem fixing independent body for overall development of any State and address the weaknesses in the working of the erstwhile Planning Commission.
  • NITI Aayog was expected to address new realities of macroeconomic management that were missed by the Planning Commission but the results have to be realised for States to independently implement their plans or functions assigned to them in the Constitution through legitimate allocation  of financial resources.
  • NITI Aayog needs to become more decentralised within its planning framework in India with reforms in bureaucracy to engage more specialists in respective domains than dumped with generalists who are instrumental in restoring back the era of redtapism.
  • To Develop it’s own Database of Indian Economy and get them periodically validated with the actual facts and figures put up the respective State Governments.

 

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