Prime Minister Modi has proposed to replace the Planning Commission on Sunday with a new institution that would incorporate his concept of ‘Team India’.
The meeting that was attended by most of the Chief Ministers of states saw majority of them voting for a restructuring of the soviet-era body and opposing a complete disbanding of the existing body. All the parties except the BJP and its allies opposed the decision. Modi had announced during his I-Day speech about replacing of the Planning Commission with a new body that was in line with the current economic world and that would strengthen “cooperative federalism”. According to him, the model ‘Team India’ that would be incorporated within, was a combination of three teams, the PM and Chief Ministers; the Union Council of Ministers; and the bureaucracy in the Centre and states. Modi had promised the states a greater say under the new setup asserting that the nation wouldn’t be able to develop until the states develop. He said the new setup would give the states a platform to express their views and address the inter-state disputes. The process of policy planning would also be changed from "top to bottom" and "bottom to top" according to the new setup.
Modi had also recalled former premier Manmohan Singh’s remarks that the body had "no futuristic vision in the post-reform period". Singh, who had been associated with the Commission for a long time had also wanted to revamp the body in order to make it more effective and relevant in the present scenario. Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley said that the new policy would empower the states to enable them to meet their own specific needs and didn’t reveal the further mandates and details as to when the new body would be announced. Congress has objected towards dismantling the existing 65 year old Planning Commission pointing out the possibilities of restructuring the body. The Commission even though was established by Jawaharlal Nehru, was initially proposed by Subhash Chandra Bose in 1938. Senior Congress leaders said that the move would prove “dangerous” and would have a long term adverse effect on Centre-state relations.
The Prime Minister said that the role of the Commission and its significance in the present scenario had been questioned for too long. He said that replacing the Commission with a suitable institution would enable the country to take a big leap forward. The details of whether the five year plans introduced by Nehru would also be scrapped are not revealed. The current, 12th five-year plan, runs to 2017. The drawbacks should be listed and the mistakes be rectified instead of dismantling the existing the body which is not likely to be viable. The new body, however, is expected to reflect the changes in the country’s economy and also act as an innovation hub and aid in capacity building.