Muktsar (Pb), Jan 3: Hailing the replacement of Planning Commission with NITI Aayog, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday termed it a "historic step" and said it will implement "real federal structure" in the country.
Badal said the "unprecedented" step will ensure more participation of states in the policy-making framework.
He alleged that chief ministers of various states, who are better connected at the grassroot level, were hitherto ignored while framing policies at the national level. He alleged that there was "excessive centralisation of powers" during Congress-run governments at the Centre.
During the governments run by Congress at the Centre, the states had hardly "any say" in policy formulation, which resulted in "lop-sided" development of the country, he alleged.
Citing an example, Badal said the top brass of erstwhile Planning Commission was not even aware of the problem of waterlogging in some areas of Punjab then how could they allocate the required funds for mitigating the woes of people residing in these areas.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves applause for taking this visionary decision, which will transform the destiny of the countrymen," he added.
On January 1, the 65-year-old Planning Commission was replaced by a new body, NITI Aayog or National Institution for Transforming India, which will serve as a policy think-tank for the central as well as state governments and have Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its Chairperson.
The NITI Aayog will have a governing council comprising all state Chief Ministers and Lt Governors and will work towards fostering a "co-operative federalism" for providing a "national agenda" to the Centre and states.
Asked to comment on a recent Ordinance brought by the Union government on Land Acquisition Act, the Chief Minister said paramount importance must be given to safeguarding the interests of farmers at any cost and added that developmental works initiated by the government for the welfare of the people should also not get affected due to any reason.