Niti Aayog or National Institution for Transforming India is a Government of India's policy think-tank established in 2015 to replace the Planning Commission. Since its inception there are both ups and downs in its performance.
- Strengthened the spirit of 'Cooperative Federalism' by recognizing 'strong states make a strong nation' i.e. team India approach
- Inculcating 'bottom-up' approach for development process.
- Having specialist and generalist on board creates synergy.
- Various sub groups, task forces, expert panels and high powered committees has been set and they have done a commendable job
- Bibek Debroy – revamping railways
- three C.M subgroup – CSS, SBA, Skill India
- Tarun Khanna of Harvard - Atal Innovation Mission and Self-Employment and Talent Utilization
Aayog is awarded a five star rating by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in pioneering the changes in Government Buildings.
- The Aayog lack functional autonomy and constitutional backing.
- Many states are still not attending Aayog's meeting showing lack of outreach by NITI
- There is lack of competent officers and staff members leaving many posts vacant. Apart from that most officers consider NITI Aayog a punishment posting.
- No clear distinction between the roles of NDC, Governing Council and Inter-State Council – which may lead to policy overlap.
On a whole, the institute is at best is a work in progress. The status and mandate of the institution is clear i.e think tank. It should have no difficulty in playing a more meaningful role in shaping the country's future.
Reasons for creation
- Changed Context
- Greater people's expectation which requires improvement in governance, dynamic policy shifts that can seed and nurture large scale change
- States have matured
- Diversity has enriched the Indian experience. Pluralism has reshaped federal consensus
- States don't want to be a mere appendix to centre. They want a decisive say in determining the architecture of economic growth and development.
- There can't be a one size fits all approach. Which undermines harmony and creates needless tensions.
- It is reasonable to centralize power where central control and uniformity are not clearly essential or it is impracticable - B.R.Ambedkar
- Technology has increased access to & sharing of info
- Centralised planning has a diminished role to play. since there are market forces and global shifts.
Forces transforming India
- Services sector and Industry are operations on a global scale.
- Government is more of an enabler rather than a provider of 1st and last resort.
- The role of the government as a player in the industrial and service sector be reduced. Instead, the Government should focus on enabling legislation, Policy Formulation and regulation.
- Agriculture - Improved due to technology and farmers efforts
- Therefore need to move from pure food security to a mix of agricultural production which will increase the return to farmers
- Today we reside in a global village connected by modern transport, communication, media and networked international markets and institutions. As India contributes to global happenings, it is also influenced by it. Global economics and geopolitics are getting increasingly integrated. India needs to be an active player in the debates and deliberation on the global commons esp in unchartered areas. (Human Rights, Education and Environment...etc)
- India's middle class is unique w.r.t size, purchasing power and it is increasing with the entry of neo-middle class which is an important driver of growth and has enormous potential because of high education levels, mobility, willingness to push for change in the country. Therefore this economically vibrant group needs to remain engaged and it's potential fully realised.
- India's pool of entrepreneurial, scientific and intellectual human capital is a source of strength waiting to be unleashed. The social capital needs to be leveraged through appropriate policy initiatives.
- NRI: Spread across more than two hundred countries. Contributes to significant, geo-economic and geopolitical strength. Future national policies must incorporate this strength to broaden their participation in new India beyond their financial support. Technology and management expertise should be tapped.
- Urbanisation is an irreversible trend. Therefore make it an integral part of development. Use it as an opportunity to use modern technology to create a wholesome and secure habitat and reap economic benefits
- Transparency - an important element of good governance. In the digital age, modern communication like social media is powerful instruments to share and explain the thoughts and actions of the government. This trend will only increase with time. Government and governance will have to be conducted in total transparency by using technology to reduce opaqueness and thereby reduce the potential for misadventures. Technology and informational access have increased unity and diversity helped to integrate the different capability of regions, states and eco-systems towards an interlinked national economy.
- Our development model has to become a more consensual and co-operative it must embrace specific demands of states, regions and localities. Create a shared vision of national development based on human dignity, national self-respect and inclusive and sustainable development.
Challenges before the nation
- Need to fruitfully leverage India's demographic dividend through education, skill development, employment, productive opportunities to work in the frontiers of science and technology, knowledge economy.
- Poverty elimination - Antyodaya - Upliftment of downtrodden. Create an environment and support system that encourages women to play their rightful role in nation-building. Address gender inequalities, create equality of opportunity, inclusiveness, give weaker segments like SC and ST's the ability to influence the choices made in settling the national agenda.
- Fully integrate villages institutionally into the development process, so that we can draw on their vitality and energy.
- India has 50 million small business which is a major source of employment creation. Need to provide support to this sector w.r.t skill, knowledge upgrades, access to finance and relevant technology.
- Disaster Management - Responsive development implies environmentally sound development. India is one of the mega diverse countries. Our Environmental and ecological assets are eternal. It must be preserved and safeguarded. Our legacy to future generations must be sustainable progress. Each element to future generations must be sustainable progress. Each element of our environment and resources namely water, land and forest. (Jal, Jameen and Jungle). Our developmental agenda should not compromise the quality of life of the present and future generations.
- States - The role of government in achieving national objective may change with time but it will always remain significant. Government will continue to set policies that anticipate and reflect countries requirement and execute them in a just manner for the benefit of citizens. The continuing integration wit the world politically and economically has to be incorporated into policy formulation and government functioning.
- Effective governance in India will rest on the following pillars
- Pro-people Agenda : That fulfills aspirations of society and individual
- Pro-active : Anticipate and respond to needs
- Participation : Empower women in all aspects
- Inclusion of all groups especially weaker sections
- Equality of opportunity to out countries youth
- Transparency through the use of technology to make the government visible and responsible
- Governance across public and private domains is the concern of society as a whole. Everyone has a stake in ensuring good governance, effective delivery of services. With public services often being delivered by private entities. There is greater scope for participation citizenry.
- Institutional framework of government has matured and developed over the years. Specific to the planning process, there is an need to separate the distinct process of governance from the strategy of governance.
Therefore in view of these challenges there is a need for an institution to serve as a think tank - a directional and policy dynamo. These institutions has to provide relevant strategic and technical advice across policy spectrum. It should include matters of national and international importance on the economic front. It should disseminate best practices from within and outside the country. It should respond to a changing and more integrated world. It will replace centre to state one way flow of policy with genuine and continuing partnership with states. It must have a necessary resources knowledge skills and ability to act with speed. It will provide strategic policy vision for the government. Deal with contingent issues. It must remember no single model can be transplanted form outside to India. We need to find own strategy for growth. Bharatiya approach to development.
Objective of Niti Aayog
- Evolve shared vision of national development with active involvement of states especially in priority sectors.
- Foster Cooperative federalism through structured support recognizing strong states make a strong nation.
- Develop mechanism to formulate credible plans at village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government
- Ensure that national security interests are incorporated in economic strategy and policy
- Pay special attention to societal sections that may be at risk of not benefiting adequately form economic progress.
- Design strategic long term policy and programme frameworks and monitor their progress efficacy. Lessons learnt through monitoring and feedback will be used for innovative improvements and mid-course corrections.
- Provide advice and encourage partnership between key stakeholders and national and international think tanks
- Create a knowledge innovation - entrepreneur support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts.
- Offer a platform for resolution of inter sect-oral and inter departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of development.
- Maintain state of the art resources centre and be a repository of research on good governance, best practice and disseminate it to stake holders.
- Actively monitor and evaluate Policy implementation
- Identify resources to strengthen the success and scope of delivery.
- Technology up-gradation for Policy implementation.