Siddu opposes converting plan panel into think tank

Siddu opposes converting plan panel into think tank

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday opposed the Centre’s move to replace the Planning Commission and said “there is no merit or justification in the decision to dismantle the existing body” which has adapted to changed economic environment in the last six decades.

“The allure for the new must not sway us from appreciating the worth of what we have, and improving it,” he cautioned.

Referring to the Centre’s plan to convert Planning Commission into a think tank on the lines of models adopted in other countries, he said the think tanks in developed countries are hugely sponsored by powerful private organisations, pressure groups and industries to influence state policy.

“India accounts for 30 per cent of the world’s extreme poor and we are still grappling with high infant and maternal mortality rates,” he said.

The CM, who participated in the meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek the states’ views on future of plan panel, said in his speech that whatever the shortcomings in the existing system of the Planning Commission should be addressed by discussing with states rather than constituting the new body.

He also criticised the Centre for not holding prior consultations with the states and convening the meeting at a short notice. “Since this meeting has been convened at a very short notice and there having been no prior consultations at the official level, our response is limited to specific ideas floated in the paper," he said.

Conceding that in the fast-changing and globalised world, planning and implementation must be faster, he, however, said, “I do not subscribe to the view to dismantle an institution that has stood the test of time.

“In my view, a new set up is not necessary. Presently, the Planning Commission has been guided by the deliberations of the National Development Council in which all the chief ministers of the states are also participants,” he said.

Siddaramaiah said the National Development Council’s meeting can be more frequent to deliberate on adding new functions to the Planning Commission.

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