Tuesday 20 August 2019

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Economy | Finance

Is Modi's Niti Aayog originally ManMohan's brainchild?

 

Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Niti Aayog actually the brainchild of his predecessor and Congress Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh?

Arun Maira, member of the Planning Commission during Singh’s tenure actually suggested so, though he did not say it in so many words.

The question was raised after his lecture on ‘Shaping our Future: One Country, One Destiny’ at the first lecture of this year at the five-day D D Kosambi Festival of Ideas.

According to Maira, Singh in the first meeting of the last Planning Commission had suggested that the country needs to reshape the role of the PC and make it reform-based rather than mere fund allocation body.

“He wanted to make it Reform System Commission”, Maira informed the jam-packed Kala Academy auditorium in Panaji today evening.

Singh, said Maira, wanted to convert PC into a force for persuasion and plan out strategies for country’s growth by listening to the people at grass root level.

“If you read the charter of the Niti Aayog, it primarily talks about the people planning at the grass root level”, he said.

Maira also said India needs to change the mode from installing elections to installing democracy.

He also insisted that India could grow only in the environment of deliberative democracy and not majoritarian democracy.

Maira was very clear on cautioning that sidelining minorities as well as the deprived people and not taking them into confidence in the planning process would doom the growth process.

“The concept of demographic dividend would be a disaster if no efforts are made for growth of income of all the Indians,” he said.

 

While he said that the 73rd and 74th amendments spoke of devolution of powers at ground level, the planner also admitted that it had not happened for two decades since those in power did not want to give up their powers.

He was asked during open discussion how participative democracy at grassroot level could be possible when not a single state had actually set up the State Finance Commission and handed over economic powers to them while giving powers to plan at Panchayat and municipality level.

“Another argument for not devolving powers is the lack of capacity of local rulers to plan at Panchayat and municipal level.”

He thus appealed to Goa Speaker Rajendra Arlekar, who was sitting in the audience after opening the eighth Festival of Ideas, to take initiative in bringing together the whole country in Goa plan out implementation of deliberative democracy and training people in capacity building.

“In fact being a small and progressive state, Goa should lead the country by implementing devolution of powers at grassroot level”, said Maira.

He also felt that population control in the country could be possible not by force or in a violent manner like what Sanjay Gandhi did during emergency but by empowering women.

“It should happen like how population is controlled in Kerala and now Tamil Nadu following it”, Maira opined. 






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