PM Narendra Modi during a meeting with Niti Aayog officials. (Source: Twitter/Niti Aayog)
PM Narendra Modi during a meeting with Niti Aayog officials. (Source: Twitter/Niti Aayog)

NEW DELHI (TIP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called upon Niti Aayog to create a 15-year development plan, setting the stage for discontinuing the five-year plan system, a sixdecade old Soviet-era relic.

“The time for incremental change that was the norm across the world for quite some time, is now over,” Modi said while interacting with Niti Aayog members on Thursday.

“Main prayog karne wala insaan hoon. Mujhme prayog karne ki himmat hain ( I am willing to experiment),” The Prime Minister said.

Stating that the current age requires “transformational change,” Modi said that historically Indian policymakers had tended to lament its constraints rather than play to its strengths. “Judicious and intelligent application of India’s natural and human resources, would be at the heart of this change,” an official statement said.

Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya said the Right to Education Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, two flagship schemes of the UPA government, along with a “poorly targetted and leaky public distribution system”, were hurting India’s development potential.

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Modi said the “intentions (niyat) of policymakers are even more important than the policies (niti) themselves.”

Niti Aayog, a newly formed policy think-tank, replaced the 60-year old Planning Commission last year.

India’s farm sector requires not just raising productivity, but also policies to push growth in the rural economy, underlining the importance of food processing, warehouse development and technology inputs, the Prime Minister added. The country has been grappling with rising pulses prices, a primary source of protein for millions, over the last two years.

“The Prime Minister called for a long-term strategy to deal with the pulses shortage, which can reduce India’s import-dependence,” said Ramesh Chand, agriculture expert and Niti Aayog member. “The Prime Minister asserted that the government has the courage and the ability to deliver transformational change for bettering the lives of the people,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.

When asked whether the development plan will be approved by the NITI Aayog governing council, Panagariya said no decision has been taken. The Council is headed by the Prime Minister with all chief ministers on its board. According to the earlier practice, fiveyear plans were approved by National Development Council, headed by the Prime Minister.

It is speculated that the government will likely terminate the five-year plan system after the end of the 12th Plan in 2017, bringing down the curtains on a policy framework inspired by the Gosplan-aided industrialisation of the erstwhile Soviet Union. Source: HT

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