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Planning Comm 2.0: Experts put their heads together on new avatar for central body

New Delhi: Former ministers, members of the Planning Commission and experts today met in the Yojana Bhawan to discuss the framework of the new body which will replace the 64-year old plan panel.

"We had all met in the context of the statement made by the Prime Minister from Red Fort (on August 15). We have discussed what could be the new avatar of the Planning Commission," said former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who chaired the meeting.

Sinha further said that all the suggestions made by the different experts have been noted and would be forwarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"They have all given some brilliant suggestions. All these (ideas) would be compiled and would be sent to the Prime Minister," Sinha said.

Sinha said the decision about the new body will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"This is a work in progress, it's not important to discuss upon the deliberations of today's meeting, the outcome is important. And that decision will be taken by the Prime Minister. We also discussed upon how should the plan be allocated to states as well as upon the autonomy status to be granted to the new body," Sinha said.

Sinha said it was a long standing need to reinvent the Planning Commission and the Prime Minister has taken a bold step.

Replying to a question on how the plan allocation to the states will be given, Kumar said it may be done through the Finance Commission.

The meeting took place in two different groups simultaneously, one headed by Sinha had previous members of the Planning Commission, while the second group consisted of economists including Rajiv Kumar and Pronab Sen.

"Old body is totally scrapped. The new body will come up and whatever body comes up, it will combine knowledge power along with some mandate for getting it executed," said Kumar.

Those present in the meeting chaired by Sinha included former RBI governor Bimal Jalan, ex-finance secretary Vijay Kelkar, ex-Planning Commission members Saumitra Chaudhuri and Y K Alagh.

Addressing the nation from the Red Fort on Independence Day, Modi had said that the 64-year-old Planning Commission, a vestige of socialist era, would be soon replaced with a new institution to address the current economic challenges and strengthen the federal structure.

"We need a new body with a new soul....We will have to think about giving a new shape to the Planning Commission....Very soon this new institute will start working in place of the Planning Commission," Modi had said.

He had said that it was set up to cater to the needs of earlier times and has participated in its own way in the development of the country.

An official statement said that the consultative meetings were held today relating to the proposed new design and structure for the Planning Commission.

These were part of consultations after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort, had said, "..We will replace Planning Commission with a new institution having a new design and structure ... a new faith towards forging a new direction to lead the country based on creative thinking, Public Private Partnership, optimum utilisation of resources, utilisation of youth power to the nation, to promote the aspiration of state governments seeking development, to empower the state governments and to empower the federal structure."

Subsequently, the Prime Minister had invited ideas from people on what shape the new institution to replace the Planning Commission can take. A special open forum was created on the website mygov.nic.in for inviting suggestions on the new institution.

"We envision the proposed Institution as one that caters to the aspirations of 21st century India & strengthens participation of the states.... Let the ideas flow," Modi had said as the above Open Forum was created on mygov.nic.in, on last Tuesday.

Various experts were invited for the consultations held at the Commission today.

Among those who participated in today's meetings are BJP spokesperson M J Akbar, Nitin Desai, former chief economic advisor Shankar N Acharya, senior journalist T N Ninan, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Shekar Shah, senior journalist T C A Srinivasa Raghavan, ICRIER Director Rajat Kathuria, noted economist Surjit Bhalla and former finance secretary Sumit Bose.

PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 21, 2014 13:17:19 IST

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