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Modi asks NITI Aayog to drive transformation

  • Create a new architecture of policy making that anticipates problems and suggests remedies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the NITI Aayog on Thursday. This was his second visit to the policy-making think tank he established in January 2015, after scrapping the historic Planning Commission. On Thursday, officials said Modi, who is also the chairman, gave last-minute directions to NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to change his presentation from a 15-year vision document to flaws in the earlier Plan process. Then, he told the Aayog to work towards transformational and not only incremental change. He said the vision document should not only lay the road map of the next 15 years but also form the foundation of the country’s development in the next century.

  • Even as the possibility of the Goods and Services Tax Constitution amendment Bill being passed in the Rajya Sabha next week brightens, Modi called for big-bang reforms. “I am a person who experiments because I have the confidence,” he said. Recounting his somewhat stormy relationship with the Planning Commission, the PM said the erstwhile body was bent on finding flaws in the states. But, he advised the NITI Aayog to desist from doing so, and become a forum where states raise their problems and solutions are found in spirit of cooperative federalism. “The state governments are a very vital pillar of India,” Modi said. He directed the Aayog to make use of the best talent available both in the country and outside to prepare the vision document for transformation.

  • The PM also told the NITI Aayog to think in advance about a number of issues. For instance, on agriculture, Modi told the NITI Aayog, to think of the demand for food in the next 15 years, possible sources from where it would come (both domestic and international) and also prepare a clear road map through which these requirements could be met. Giving the example of pulses, Modi wondered why everyone talked about it when prices shot up. In its reply, the Aayog is believed to have assured the PM that it will soon constitute a working group of experts to anticipate the requirement for food in the country in the next 15 years and also all available sources.

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