Panel seeks executive powers for NITI Aayog

A parliamentary panel wants the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog to be given executive powers to enable it to deal with central ministries and state governments in a more authoritative manner.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has also recommended equipping the NITI Aayog with the role and responsibilities of the erstwhile Planning Commission, wherever found relevant and useful.

‘Not just a think tank’
The committee, chaired by Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, said it expects the NITI to be not merely a think tank giving policy inputs to the central government but also serve as an instrument for coordinating the policies of the Union and the states for a sustainable development agenda.

Noting that the approval of plan outlays of the central ministries and the states has been kept out of the ambit of the NITI, the committee pointed out that it was at odds with the finance ministry setting aside Rs 20,000 crore for transfer to the states on the recommendation of the NITI.

“The committee would therefore expect the government to sort out such ambiguities, so that the newly created NITI can play a significant role in allocation of resources,” said a report submitted to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on October 7.

The government’s decision to wind up the Planning Commission and establish the NITI  had triggered a political controversy with the Congress contending that it was done with the sole purpose of trying to abolish the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru.

The committee pointed out that the central funding for key social sectors since the 1990s had resulted in significant achievements on the parameters of literacy and education.
The committee also wanted the NITI to formulate periodical national plan, including a long term perspective plan dovetailing the salient features of the state plans, in an attempt towards a decentralised planning.

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