Narendra Modi’s NITI Aayog, the body which replaces ‘Yojana Aayog’ (Planning Commission), will have a three-tier structure. The Centre has annunced 13 objectives for the new body with a focus on providing ‘national agenda’. NITI stands for National Institutions for Transforming India.
NITI will have a Governing Council of all State Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors of Union Territories, Regional Councils to address specific issues and contingencies affecting more than one State or region, and an organisational framework headed by the Prime Minister. However, the Opposition has criticised the NITI Aayog calling it a gimmickry. The Prime Minister, in the new body, will be assisted by a Vice-Chairperson and full-time members. There will be two part-time members from leading universities, research organisations and other institutions in an ex-officio capacity. Part-time members will be appointed on a rotational basis, besides four Union Ministers, who will be ex-officio members. There will be a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with a fixed tenure, who will work in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
The Regional Councils will be chaired by the Chairperson of the NITI Aayog, the Prime Minister, or his nominee. Both the General and the Regional councils will have experts, specialists and practitioners with relevant domain knowledge as special invitees. NITI Aayog aims to foster a spirit of cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuing basis, recognising that strong States make a strong nation. The new body will adopt a ‘Bottom Up’ approach, where decisions will be taken at the local level and then endorsed at the Central level.
The institution will serve as A ‘Think Tank’ of the Government - a directional and policy dynamo to provide the Centre and States with relevant advice in a spectrum of key policies. This includes matters of national and international import on the economic front, dissemination of best practices, infusion of new policy ideas and specific issue-based support.