NITI Aayog critics ignorant of facts, says Nirmala Sitharaman

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The government’s move to replace the Planning Commission with a new institution called ‘NITI Aayog’ was being criticised without studying facts, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here.

“With the new set of changes, the state governments no longer need to have a begging attitude and instead take independent steps for development,” said Sitharaman at an event late Saturday.

The Opposition Thursday questioned the government’s rechristening of the Planning Commission as “NITI Aayog”.

The Congress sought to know whether the reform introduced by the BJP-led government was premised on any meaningful programme or if the move was simply born out of political opposition to the party that ran the Planning Commission for over 60 years.

“The real issue is do you (the government) have a substantive meaningful programme to reform the Planning Commission?” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

“If you (the BJP government) simply want to abolish it (the commission), because it is something which (Jawaharlal) Nehru created for this country and you don’t like Nehru or simply because it was run by the Congress for 60 years and you don’t like the Congress, that is pitiable,” he said.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist said a mere change in the name would not yield the desired results.

“Mere changing this nomenclature, and this sort of gimmickry is not going to serve the purpose. Let us wait and see what the government is eventually planning,” CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said.

The government Thursday replaced the Planning Commission with a new institution called NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog that would serve as a think tank of the government. The prime minister would continue as chairperson of the revamped commission.

“The institution will serve as a ‘think tank’ of the government – a directional and policy dynamo. NITI Aayog will provide governments at the central and state levels with relevant strategic and technical advice across the spectrum of key elements of policy,” a union cabinet release here said.

Apart from the prime minister as chairperson, the NITI Aayog will have a governing council comprising the chief ministers of all the states and the lieutenant governors of union territories.

 

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