Classroom 101: NITI Aayog


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Established on January 1, 2015 through a Union Cabinet Resolution, the ‘NITI Aayog’ or the ‘National Institution for Transforming India Aayog’ is a government organisation founded by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to replace the nearly five-decade old Planning Commission.

NITI Aayog represents the economic interests of the State Governments and Union Territories of India by providing opportunities that the previous Planning Commission structure lacked in doing. It is essentially a group of experts with authority entrusted by the government to formulate or regulate policies in social and economic issues. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, serves as chairperson of NITI Aayog.

The aim of creating NITI Aayog was to encourage involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by the State Governments of India. A major development is the adoption of a “bottom-up” approach in planning which is in stark contrast to the Planning Commision’s traditional “top-down” decision-making technique.

NITI Aayog serves as a think-tank for government policy formation. It finds the best practices from other countries to adopt in our own nation. Some of its main objectives are cooperative federalism, sustainable development, urban development, participatory development and poverty elimination. NITI Aayog also lays stress on the usage of social media to ensure transparency, accountability and good governance.

In a time-span of a year, NITI Aayog has proven to be a success. It has undertaken a restructuring of its divisions/verticals to improve efficiency and has created two hubs- Team India and the Knowledge and Innovation Hub. While the former leads the engagement with states, the latter is for building NITI Aayog’s think-tank capabilities. It also released the ‘Good Practices Resource Book 2015’ which focuses on delivery in the social sectors in India. The Aayog’s expert group on agriculture has also explored the use of genetically-modified seeds and minimum crop support price (MSP) reforms.

In the course of its first year, NITI Aayog has successfully set a new benchmark for cooperative federalism in which the Union and states can effectively work together as equals!

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