NDC to be scrapped, NITI Aayog council likely to get its powers

Updated - September 22, 2016 09:07 pm IST

Published - January 01, 2016 02:03 am IST - New Delhi:

After the Planning Commission, the Narendra Modi-led government is set to bring down the curtains on another Nehruvian legacy: the National Development Council (NDC).

The Cabinet will, in early January, take up its closure and also pass a resolution for transferring its powers to the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

After getting the Cabinet’s approval, Mr. Modi will take up the resolution with the Chief Ministers at a meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog, an official source told The Hindu .

This will be on the lines of a discussion Mr. Modi had with the Chief Ministers at the first meeting of this council about a year ago for replacing the Planning Commission with the NITI Aayog, he said.

The Centre anticipates fresh opposition again on the NDC as well and so, the source said, “The Prime Minister is likely to want to do it not just executively but also through a meeting of the full Governing Council of the Chief Ministers.”

The National Development Council, set up on 6 August, 1952 by an executive order of the government, served as “the highest decision-making authority” in the country on development matters.

One of the most significant of its decisions was the creation (as part of the Gadgil-Mukherjee exercise) of “special category” of States, and the criteria for determining whether a State could receive the status and related financial support from the Centre.

“The National Development Council was set up by a Cabinet resolution and so its metamorphism into the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council will also be through a resolution of the Cabinet,” the source said. It was on recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission that the NDC was reconstituted and its functions redefined on October 7, 1967.

Initially, it comprised the Prime Minister, the Chief Ministers of all States and the members of the Planning Commission. In the first meeting of the NDC held on 8-9 November 1952, its first chairman and India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru stated that the NDC is essentially a forum for “intimate cooperation” between State governments and the Centre for all the tasks of national development.

The reconstituted NDC comprised of the Prime Minister, all the Union Cabinet Ministers, the Chief Ministers of all States and Union Territories and the Members of the Planning Commission. The Delhi Administration is represented in the Council by the Lt. Governor and the Chief Executive Councillor, and the remaining Union Territories by their respective Administrators.

In the reconstituted Council, the Secretary of the Planning Commission acted as Secretary to the NDC. In all, 56 meetings of the NDC have been held, the last being on 22nd October 22, 2011 to consider the approach to the 12th Plan.

The 50th meeting of the NDC, held on December 21, 2002, was chaired by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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