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No consensus among CMs on panel revamp

Chief Ministers greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting in New Delhi.— Photo: PTI

Chief Ministers greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting in New Delhi.— Photo: PTI  

Centre to hold further discussions with States

There was no consensus among Chief Ministers at a meeting specially convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the nature of the body that should replace the Planning Commission.

At Sunday’s meeting, Congress Chief Ministers questioned the Government’s approval to scrap the Planning Commission, which was announced by the Prime Minister on August 15. Instead, they demanded that the Centre reinvent the plan panel rather than scrapping it and replacing it with a new body.

At the consultation meeting, the Centre and States also couldn’t reach any agreement on whether India should retain or scrap five-year plans and the annual State plans. Briefing reporters after the meeting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Centre would hold further consultations to decide on the alternative mechanism to transfer funds from the Centre to the States for Central Plan Assistance.

He said that at the meeting, there was broad consensus on three points: federalism must be strengthened, States must get more powers and they must have greater flexibility to implement schemes and programmes. “All States agreed that the principle of one-size-fits-all as far as the design and format of schemes and programmes go does not work,” Mr. Jaitley said. He also said that all States were in favour of cooperative federalism.

Sunday’s consultations follow a decision of the Cabinet on August 13, to repeal the March 15, 1950 Resolution by which the Planning Commission was set up. Mr. Modi said “Team India” was a combination of three teams — the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers; the Union Council of Ministers; and the bureaucracy in the Centre and States.

Consensus on greater federalism and more powers for States

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