New Delhi :  It is the ends of the command economy. The Planning Commission, which is being junked, is perceived by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an archaic institution and its laboriously crafted five-year plans a relic of a bygone era.

The 64-year old relic of the socialist era would be soon replaced with a new institution to address the current economic challenges and strengthen the federal structure, said Modi in his I-day speech.

“We need a new body with a new soul… We will have to think about giving a new shape to the Planning Commission… Very soon this new institute will start working in place of the Planning Commission,” he explained.

The practice all these years has been for the state governments to make the beeline for the Plan Panel like supplicants with a begging bowl in their hands. Modi has decided to change all that. “The times have changed from when the Planning Commission was created,” he said in his speech to the nation. The reference was to the nascent years after Independence when the Planning Commission would mimic the Soviet command economy. Ingrained in this new philosophy is the realization that the federal structure must be strengthened, so that the states get their due share of the resource pie.

Sources told a TV channel that Modi is considering a proposal to bifurcate the commission. Eight experts will be assigned to a think tank and tasked with the responsibility of helping him with “Vision 2020” — the plan meant to enable Modi to deliver on the promises he made for economic growth. The remaining staff of the commission would implement the think tank’s recommendations and be merged with the Department of Expenditure, which resides within the Finance Ministry.

Welcoming the decision, former Planning Commission member Bimal Jalan said: “It is very good idea. Planning has become an outdated concept now. There is a need to modernise it. We have to see the blueprint of the new concept. But change was very much required”.

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Free Press Journal