Niti Aayog

The Planning Commission was replaced by a new institution – NITI AAYOG on January 1, 2015 with emphasis on ‘Bottom –Up’ approach to envisage the vision of Maximum Governance, Minimum Government, echoing the spirit of ‘Cooperative Federalism’.

NITI Aayog is based on the 7 pillars of effective governance: 

Pro-people: It fulfills the aspirations of society as well as individuals

Pro-activity: In anticipation of and response to citizen needs

Participation: Involvement of the citizenry

Empowering: Empowering, especially women in all aspects

Inclusion of all: Inclusion of all people irrespective of caste, creed, and gender

Equality: Providing equal opportunity to all especially for youth

Transparency: Making the government visible and responsive

The NITI Aayog’s creation has two hubs called “Team India Hub” and “Knowledge and Innovation Hub”

Change in policy formation after NITI Aayog:

Decentralized planning: In NITI Aayog, State and local Governments have to play a more proactive role.

Bottom- up approach: formulate a reliable strategy at the village level and aggregate these gradually at higher levels of government.

Long term vision: NITI aayog focusing on strategic and long-term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives, and review their progress and their effectiveness.

Works as a Resolution Platform: Provide a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues to speed up the accomplishment of the progressive agenda.

Promotes Federalism: Idea of cooperative federalism and competitive federalism being promoted in decision making.

Coordination among different departments: It offers a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the development agenda. Example: Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.

Involvement of Technocrats: individuals with technical training and occupations who perceive many important societal problems as being solvable with the applied use of technology and related applications. Example: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, National Mission for Clean Ganga

Digitization: It focuses on technology upgradation and capacity building for implementation of programmes and initiatives. Example: Digital India

NITI Aayog & Cooperative Federalism

● Institution: Sub group of CM, Team India Institution is working to generate the consensus from Respective leadership of States.

● Resolving Centre – State Issues: 20 Issues across ministries of Coal, Environment, Finance are identified with Telangana

● Support to States: Niti Aayog has supported States for decentralized planning- 3 States Odisha, MP, Chhattisgarh has been ensured for making future maps for the District Planning Committee.

● Convincing States: In Rajasthan, the Aayog has managed to convince the state government to repeal 65 old and obsolete laws and statutes, which had outlived their utility.

● Core Strategy: The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a spirit of mass Movement. With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.

Issues with NITI Aayog: 

● Like the planning commission, it’s also a non-constitutional body which is not responsible to parliament.

● UTs are represented by Lieutenant Governors, not by chief ministers. This is against the principles of federalism.

● Fund allocation to welfare schemes may get affected. For example, there is a 20 % reduction in gender budgeting.

● NITI Aayog has no role in influencing private or public investment.

● Inequality has continued to grow in the Indian society and the effect of NITI AYOG in combating this has been subpar

● NITI AYOG has been transformed into a glorified recommendatory body which lacks the requisite power to bring positive change in the government’s actions

Way Forward:

1] Separating policy-making from implementation & Decentralizing policy making exercise

2] Continuous Policy Monitoring and Evaluation: through Performance Management and Evaluation System created by Cabinet Secretariat.

3] Collect real time empirical data: in formulating public policy crippling its effectiveness. This supports evidence-based decision making. 

4] Building linkages among government agencies and academic institutions

5] Convergence of schemes: It will save administrative costs as well as empower the beneficiaries to choose effectively.


● NITI Aayog remains an integral and relevant component of the government’s plans to put in place an efficient, transparent, innovative and accountable governance system in the country.

● However, it needs more mandate to play an effective role in bringing true transformation at ground level. More autonomy should be provided to the body with better machinery so that it can play a larger role between centre and states.

Talks for NITI Aayog 2.0

● Former Finance Commission Chairman Vijay Kelkar has pitched for setting up a ‘new NITI Aayog’ and giving it the responsibility for allocating capital and revenue grants to the States.

● NITI Aayog 2.0 should receive significant resources (say 1% to 2% of the GDP) to promote accelerated growth in States that are lagging, and overcome their historically conditioned infrastructure deficit, thus reducing the developmental imbalance.

● NITI Aayog 2.0 should also be mandated to create an independent evaluation office which will monitor and evaluate the efficacy of the utilization of such grants.

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