Plan panel rename: It’s ‘aniti and durniti’, says Opposition

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:05 am IST

Published - January 01, 2015 03:41 pm IST - New Delhi

Opposition on Thursday criticised as mere “fluff” and “gimmickry” the government’s decision to restructure Planning Commission and rechristen it “ Neeti Ayog ” and voiced apprehension that it will discriminate against the states and help “corporates call the shots” in policy making.

The CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury termed the renaming of Planning Commission as “ aniti and durniti ” (no policy and bad policy).

“If government wants to greet people with fluff and not substance on the first day of 2015, then there is nothing more that can be said.... If the North Block or the Finance Ministry have a very short-term view of both fiscal and monetary objective, is going to be the final arbiter between the states and the Centre....

“It being the stake holder in the process, I am afraid, is going to discriminate against the states,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.

“After all, what was the Planning Commission doing? It used to plan policy. So by changing the nomenclature from Planning Commission to Neeti Ayog, what is the message this government is trying to send,” the senior Congress Party leader said.

Congress’ opposition to restructuring of the Planning Commission was based on “principles,” Tewari said.

“It’s not a question of fighting a war, it’s a matter of principle. The opposition BJP used to go to extra lengths talking about federalism and how the sanctity and sacrosanct of federalism has to be maintained. And now they are going exactly the reverse,” he said.

Mr. Yechury said, “Just a change of nomenclature and gimmickry does not serve any purpose. Let us see what the government plans to do with it.”

The Planning Commission, which was established in 1950, will be called ‘Neeti Ayog’ in its new avatar, months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that it will be replaced by a new body.

The decision comes nearly three weeks after Mr. Modi held consultations with chief ministers at a meeting where most favoured restructuring of the Socialist-era body but some Congress Chief Ministers opposed disbanding of the existing set-up.

Veteran CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said that dismantling of the Planning Commission and bringing in a new body in its place will lead to an unregulated economy.

“It is not a change of name. The Planning Commission is being abolished because they (government) don’t believe in planning,” he said.

“The Government would like to have a full market economy (which is) totally unregulated,” he said adding, “If this becomes the policy of the government to not help advance the country, control inflation and create job opportunities, it will not be good for the country.”

Trinamool Congress leader Sauagata Roy said the sudden dismantling of Planning Commission will result in “unplanned” economy, in which the corporates will call the shots.

“I am basically opposed to the abolition of the Planning Commission, which had been working for the last so may years. We believe in a planned economy. It will take the country away from the planned economy to unplanned economy,” Roy said.

He said that with the Neeti Ayo g, the body will only decide policy, alleging that the corporates will now call the shots in the policy making.

Mr. Modi had announced in his Independence Day speech that the Planning Commission would be replaced by a new body which is in sync with the contemporary economic world.

While addressing the Chief Ministers on December 7, he had invoked former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had said on April 30 last year that the current structure has “no futuristic vision in the post-reform period”.

He had pushed for an effective structure which strengthens “cooperative federalism” and the concept of “Team India”.

There were indications that the new structure will have the Prime Minister, some Cabinet ministers and some chief ministers along with technocrats and experts in various fields.

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