CMs cross swords over dismantling of Planning Commission

CMs cross swords over dismantling of Planning Commission

Uttarkhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat today criticised the move to dismantle Planning Commission saying it has created uncertainty in the country, a view countered by Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis who claimed the new framework will give more rights to states.

Rawat said that institutions like Planning Commission are "time tested" and it has tried to do justice with states in the federal structure. He said one should not talk of dismantling it unless unless a "unanimous alternative" is reached.

The Congress leader stated that just saying that the process of consultation has started is not enough "because for the last six months, this uncertainty is there which is not good for the country".

However, BJP leader Fadnavis defended the Centre's move to dismantle the Planning Commission and termed the concerns raised by Rawat "baseless". He said that government is a "continuous" process and the Planning Commission still exists.

"Till the time the, new institution comes up, the planning body  will keep functioning," he said.

"Institutions like Planning Commission, finance commission...they are such institutions which are time tested ones and have tried to do justice with states in the existing federal structure, provided states a platform to give their opinion. Unless a unanimous alternative is reached upon, it (Commission) should not be finished," Rawat said during a discussion in Agenda Aajtak in which Fadnavis also participated.

Rawat accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not consulting any political party or making any attempt to arrive at national consensus on the issue.

"You are taking such a big decision, have you tried to reach a national consensus or are you trying to impose your own thoughts on national consensus. You did not take Chief Ministers in the decision, you did not consult the political parties, you did not conduct any open house consultations.

"He (Modi) did not do any such thing and only said it should be dismantled and has not made it clear what should be done next on the issue. This is our concern," Rawat said.

Fadnavis said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has worked for many years both as Chief Miniser and in the oppostion and has experienced the difficulties in the centre-state relationship.

It is because of this he wants Centre-state relationship to be stronger, the Maharashtra Chief Minister said, adding that in a democratic set up, when a institution replaces the others, it is done for good.

"Government is a continuous process and under that planning commission still exists. Till the new institution comes up, it will keep functioning," Fadnavis said.

He said that the debate on this issue was started by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had in his last speech that the role Planning Commission is playing, it will not suffice and drastic changes has to be made.

"The framework on which discussions are going on, in that states are getting more rights and will get more consultations. The participation of states is increasing in that framework," Fadnavis said.

He said that the consultation process is on and for that online suggestions were taken as well views of economists and sociologists after which the meeting with Chief Ministers was called.

Raising his concerns, Rawat said that states are facing difficulty as to who should they approach - finance department or the PMO.

"States like ours which depend on central assistance, the uncertainty has grown for them. There is a fear also. The country has many disadvantageous regions and sections of society.

"States like Uttarakhand or NE states...the Planning Commission used to understand about their geographical difficulties and historical backwardness and had developed special mechanism to address that...there is an uncertainty in front of us," he said.

He said that for building a new institution in federal structure, "one should talk to political parties, states and also talk to other stakeholders like NGOs and social groups".

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