NITI Aayog: All you need to know about PM Modi's initiative to transform India

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On the first day of the New Year, the Narendra Modi Government set up NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) in place of the Planning Commission. NITI Aayog will seek to provide a critical directional and strategic input into the development of the country. Here's all you need to know about the Aayog:

NITI Aayog: PM Modi's another initiative for transforming India.

What is NITI Aayog and what are its objectives?

  • The NITI Aayog will create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and partners.
  • It will offer a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the development agenda.
  • In addition, the NITI Aayog will monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes, and focus on technology upgradation and capacity building.
  • The Aayog will also provide policy support to more than 50 million small businesses, which are a major source of employment creation.
  • "A pro-people, pro-active and participatory development agenda stressing on empowerment and equality is the guiding principle behind Niti Aaygog", PM Modi had said in one of his tweets.

Who will be its members?

  • The Prime Minister will head the new institution.
  • The Prime Minister will appoint the Aayog's Vice-Chairperson and CEO.
  • Asian Development Bank's Former Chief Economist Arvind Panagariya is tipped to be the first Vice Chairperson.
  • NITI will include leaders of India's 29 states and seven union territories.
  • The body will also have a CEO with around 7-8 full-time members and two part-time members, while four union ministers would serve as ex-officio members.
  • Aayog's full-time staff - a deputy chairman, Chief Executive Officer and experts - will answer directly to the Prime Minister who will be the chairman of the institution.
  • The two part-time members would be from leading universities and research organisations, the number of full time members has not been specified as yet.
  • The Aayog will have a Vice-Chairman and five full time members who are likely to join next week following the announcement of their appointment shortly.

How is it different from planning commission

  • The original Planning Commission was set up in March, 1950 by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru through a Cabinet Resolution to chalk out a path of development for India's agrarian economy, which the Modi Government scrapped in August 2014.
  • A statement from PMO office said, "India needs an administration paradigm in which the government is an enabler rather than a provider of first and last resort."
  • The centre-to-state one-way flow of policy, that was the hallmark of the Planning Commission era, will now be replaced by a genuine and continuing partnership of states.
  • NITI Aayog aims to put an end to slow and tardy implementation of policy, by fostering better inter-ministry coordination and better Centre-state coordination.
  • NITI Aayog will act like a think tank or forum in contrast with the Planning Commission which imposed five-year-plans and allocated resources to hit set economic targets.
  • The Planning Commission was in 2012 pilloried for spending some Rs. 35 lakh to renovate two office toilets.
  • It was also criticised for concluding that the citizens who spent Rs 27 or more a day were not poor.
  • The inclusion of Chief Ministers and Lt Governors in the Governing Council is a break with the past in the structuring of Niti Aayog which Modi, has described as a landmark change that will foster spirit of cooperative federalism.
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