NITI Aayog a threat to federal structure: Congress

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:05 am IST

Published - January 03, 2015 01:37 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said here on Friday that replacing the Planning Commission with NITI Aayog would strike at the very foundation of the federal structure, and the new body would be an “extension of the all-powerful Prime Minister’s Office [PMO].”

“PMO Commission”

Briefing presspersons, Congress spokesman Ajoy Kumar said NITI Aayog would, in effect, become a “PMO Commission” as all powers in this government were with one person, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The BJP is an expert in destroying institutions,” and the Planning Commission was another such example.

The CPI(M) Polit Bureau described the creation of NITI Aayog as a “regressive step” which would further push the country into a market-driven economy and privatisation in all spheres at the expense of diluting even the present inadequate welfare schemes.

“Whatever role the Planning Commission had in allocating resources for the public sector and deploying public investment keeping in mind regional disparities has now ended,” it said.

“Spurious claim”

The Polit Bureau described as “spurious” the government’s claim that the new set-up would be based on cooperative federalism with the States as stakeholders.

Allocations to the States would be decided by the Finance Ministry, which would subject them to the political whims of the Union government.

“By saying ‘one size fits all’ cannot work, what is being done is to put the States at the mercy of the Centre to be dealt with arbitrarily without any common principles and norms. This dangerously opens new doors for political bargaining and deal-making.”

As for the replacement of the National Development Council with a governing council, the CPI(M) said it would be powerless in the “centralised unitarian structure” that had been envisaged.

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