Meeting to discuss alternative to Planning Commission today

Meeting to discuss alternative to Planning Commission today

Within days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing that the 64-year old Planning Commission would be wired to history, a meeting of its former members, experts and economists has been called on  Tuesday to deliberate on the structure of the new body.

This is the first meeting of experts after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced from the Red Fort on Independence Day that the 64-year-old Planning Commission would be soon replaced with a new institution.

Those invited for the meeting include former members Abhijit Sen, Arun Maira, B K Chaturvedi, Saumitra Chaudhuri, Syeda Hameed and Narendra Jadhav, Sources in the plan panel said.

They said there will be representation from the PMO in the meeting. From the party side BJP’s spokesperson M J Akbar and party member N K Singh have been invited. 

But even before the first such meeting, there are voices of disagreement in the Congress-ruled states who have sought an assurance from the prime minister that interests of all the states will be protected by the new entity.

"We need a new body with a new soul. We will have to think about giving a new shape to the Planning Commission. Very soon this new institute will start working in place of the Planning Commission," Modi had said.

Soon after that on August 19, the Prime Minister had invited ideas from the people on the new institution to replace the plan body. The government has also announced creation of a special open forum on the website for suggestions on the new institution.

However, the chief ministers from the Congress ruled states planning to write to the prime minister seeking to know the fate of the ongoing 12th five year plan as also the fate of allocation to the states which is currently taken up by the commission.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has already sent a letter to the prime minister saying if the finance ministry was entrusted with allocating funds and deciding the plan size of states, it would adversely affect the federal system.

He also urged the prime minister to take the states on board before deciding on the new body.