Govt decision to replace Planning Commission kneejerk, half-baked: Congress

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New Delhi, Aug 19: Congress on Tuesday opposed the government's decision to replace the Planning Commission with a new body terming it a "kneejerk and half-baked decision" and favoured a "restructuring instead of dismantling" of the plan panel.

"Making an arbitrary announcement to scrap Planning Commission without putting in place an alternative model first is totally wrong. It's a kneejerk and half-baked decision. The Prime Minister should have taken on board the views of Chief Ministers before taking such a decision," party spokesperson and former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said.

"He should have called a meeting of the National Development Council to discuss it," he told reporters at the AICC meeting. His remarks came on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally invited ideas from people on the new institution to replace the plan body taking a step further towards scrapping the Planning Commission.

When pointed out that former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had, addressing a press conference from the same AICC podium, favoured downsizing of the Planning Commission, Sharma said, "There is a difference between restructuring and dismantling."

He said that it was former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at whose initiative a plan to restructure the plan panel was initiated and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia had prepared a 15-page note on it.

Chidambaram had in June said that his personal view is the Planning Commission should be a much more limited body tasked with drawing up prospective plans as at the moment it is "too big, flabby and unwieldy".

Sharma said that Modi frequently talks about federal issues and respecting states and hence in this issue, he should have first taken their suggestions.

"He has done exactly the opposite by unilaterally announcing a decision to replace the plan panel without seeking the views of the states," Sharma said. 

PTI

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