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Planning Commission laid to rest.

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday that the government would scrap the Planning Commission, finally confining to history the lingering relic of Jawahar Lal Nehru's attempt to copy the Soviet economy in 1950.

Modi said that he would replace the Planning Commission with a modern institution to address the country's emerging economic needs and strengthen its federal structure.

" We will very soon set up a new institution in place of the Planning Commission," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

The Planning Commission, he said, was set up to cater to the needs of earlier times and has participated in his own way in the development of the country.

" However, the internal situation of the country has changed, the global environment has changed... If we have to take India forward, then states will have to be taken forward. The federal structure has assumed greater importance today than the last 60 years," he pointed out. The Prime Minister further stated that there is a need for a relook at the structure of the Planning Commission and give it a new shape. " Sometimes it becomes necessary to repair a house. It costs a lot of money. But it does not give us satisfaction. Then we feel it is better to make a new house," he explained. We need an institution for creative thinking and for optimum utilisation of youth capability, he added.

India's first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru was a socialist who admired Josef Stalin's drive to industrialise the Soviet Union and decided to set up the Planning Commission based on the communist country's planning committee called Gosplan.

Ironically, while Gosplan was scrapped when Soviet communism collapsed in 1991 its Indian counterpart continued to thrived in Yojna Bhavan.

" Modi had got an insight into the working of the Planning Commission when as chief minister of Gujarat he had to deal with its members in Yojna Bhavan. He had stunned the meeting chaired by planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia by making a presentation that accused it of high- handedness and hobbling the states with one- size- fits- all policies.

This June, a governmentbacked report suggested replacing the Planning Commission with a think tank more in line with a US- style Council of Economic Advisors.

Arun Shourie had criticized the Planning Commission as a ' parking lot' for political cronies and unwanted bureaucrats.

According to political analysts and economists, Modi's focus on processsummed up by his slogan " maximum governance, minimum government"- should increase the effectiveness of his administration.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 16, 2014
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