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PM Modi to review developments, calls CMs in NITI Aayog meeting on Sunday : NITI Aayog frustrated Manik Sarkar to attend PM / CM meeting at New Delhi
TIWN April 22, 2017
PM Modi to review developments, calls CMs in NITI Aayog meeting on Sunday : NITI Aayog frustrated Manik Sarkar to attend PM / CM meeting at New Delhi
PHOTO : Tripura CM Manik Sarkar with PM Modi at New Delhi. TIWN File Photo.

AGARTALA, April 22 (TIWN): With the era of five-year plans having ended on 31 March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday consider a three-year immediate policy action plan and a 15-year-long term vision document at the governing council meeting of think tank Niti Aayog that will set new socio-economic goalposts for the nation. It was since the beginning that that Tripura CPI-M Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had been representing his cabinet against NITI Aayog, calling back Planning Commission constantly, although remained without any action. However, reportedly on April 23rd CM Manik Sarkar is going to attend NITI Aayog meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convened a meeting of the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council, which comprises all Chief Ministers, senior Union ministers, administrators of Union Territories and Aayog members, to finalize a short-term Action Plan. The meeting was in the offing as the practice of Five-Year Plans ended after the term of 12th Five-year Plan (2012-17) expired on March 31. Therefore, departments and states to achieve on a yearly basis the goal envisaged in the “Vision 2030” document. However, it’s questionable that till 2030, whether the Chief Minister’s party can rule in Tripura.

Modi also will also review the progress in the sectoral policies being evolved by the Niti Aayog and the implementation of recommendations by various task forces. 

The much talked NITI Ayaog which was established by the Narendra Modi government to replace the Planning Commission on 1 January 2015. The difference between planning commission and NITI Aayog is that NITI Aayog has a "control commission", which is to scan the working progress of NITI Ayog funded schemes. On January 1, 2015 a Cabinet resolution was passed to replace the Planning Commission with the newly formed NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India). The first meeting of NITIAayog was chaired by Narendra Modi on February 8, 2015.

But this NITI Ayog dashboard is upsetting CPI-M in Tripura since its establishment. The conflict of views about Planning Commission and NITI Aayog is worsening the State-Centre relation day by day for Tripura. The day NITI Aayog began to function the free flow of funds were objected in case of ‘improper implementation’. The NITI Aayog’s blessing turned heavy on the CPI-M Govt and many times the state had seen so many political turmoil in the state due to NITIAayog. Whoever is supporting NITI Aayog is becoming the enemy of the CPI-M in Tripura. After NITI Aayog members visited Tripura and questioned about the utilization of central funds then Tripura CM lost his temper during NE Summit-2016 at Pragna Bhawan and after that what the Chief Minister said was enough reason for the oppositions to burn his effigies across the state. 

Reportedly, due to NITI Aayog out of 1000 crores only 500 crores fund were slashed under SC / ST fund as 40 % funds are not utilized. CPI-M leader Radha Charan Debbarma said, “The fund reduction has shown BJPs mentality who never wants states development.‘This is not appreciable and with the budget deduction, the development will be halted in coming days’, said Debbarma. He also mentioned about the MGNREGA fund slashing and other deduction funds under NITI Aayog. 
Governor supporting NITI Aayog said that NITI Aayog was a correct decision taken by the Centre and Bijan Dhar as CPI-M spokesperson said the Governor post itself should be omitted and a Governor should be selected via Election.

However, the issue is what is the basic difference between NITI Aayog and Planning Commission that the CPI-M are worried so much :

1.     Whereas in Planning Commission the Govt had enjoyed the powers to allocate funds to ministries and state governments, in NITI Aayogthe powers to allocate funds might be vested in the finance ministry,

2.     The Planning Commission had eight full-time members but for NITI Aayog the number of full-time members could be fewer than Planning Commission

3.     Most importantly States' role in Planning Commission was limited to the National Development Council and annual interaction during Plan meetings, for NITI Aayog State governments are expected to play a more significant role than they did in the Planning Commission/

4.     Secretaries or member secretaries were appointment through the usual process in Planning Commission’s time but  to be known at the CEO and to be appointed by the Prime Minister himself,

5.     To have a number of part-time members, depending on the need from time to time is a thumbrule in NITI Aayog Planning Commission, but in full Planning Commission had no provision for part-time members

It’s worthy to mention here that central Govt has no option other than slashing funds as CPI-M Govt. failed to submit utilization report to the Central Govt. After NITI Aayog raised questioned over proper Utilization of funds, Tripura CPI-M’s main opponent is now NITI Aayog. CPI-M claimed, “Due to the adoption of a new policy at the Centre, Tripura lost Rs 1,356 crore in 2015-16”. However, NITI Ayog was asked by PM Modi to make a vision document & also to create road map for India’s development for the next 15 years.

 Targeting NITI Aayog Tripura CM said on Sep 21st at NE Industry Summit, “What has NITI Aayog done for Tripura?” NITIAayog may be beneficial for other states, but not for Northeast. In reply NITI Ayog member Bibek Debroy made it very clear what is NITI Aayog’s work actually as per the guideline of Central Govt. Debroy said, “NITI Aayog’s work is just to monitor. Developed states are known for their strengths. So state govt.’s first duty is to upgrade own strength". "We have many projects which can be utilized, as SMART City, project for Agriculture, Skill Development. “We have dashboard about how many villages are connected with mobiles. How much the quality of roadway. We have monitoring power of Education, water, electricity & everything”, said Debroy.

 However, after NITI Aayog’s monitoring CPI-M is under tremendous pressure as drawing central funds have not been so easy now.  CPI-M crying that central government has stopped funding under normal central assistance, special plan assistance and special central assistance. Besides, the fund flow under some major schemes has got reduced by Rs 314.72 crore during 2015-16.


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