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Plan panel to bring in experts for 2012-17 term

Exit babus welcome experts is the new mantra of the Planning Commission for formulating India economic and social development plan for the next five years.

delhi Updated: Mar 28, 2011 00:20 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Exit babus welcome experts is the new mantra of the Planning Commission for formulating India economic and social development plan for the next five years.

"Let us first take the inputs from non-official experts," plan panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia told HT in an exclusive chat on the panel’s 12th five-year plan. "The government ministries can always deliberate on the suggestions of these experts while formulating policies."

The plan panel had been appointing secretaries in the government or retired babus as chairpersons of the working groups for a five-year plan. Only some of the members used to be from non-government bodies. This time, the panel has rooted for a different approach.

As a result, the chairperson of the expert group on health is K Shrinath Reddy, head of Public Health Foundation of India, the working group on urban water supply has Sunita Narian, director Centre for Science and Environment as chairperson and Magsasay award winner and National Advisory Council member Deep Joshi heads the group on rural water supply.

Some secretaries in the Central government ministries have been nominated as co-chairpersons of important working groups whereas member secretaries of the groups are junior level ministry officials. "They have been appointed member secretaries to assist the committee in their work," a senior plan panel official said. But, the majority is still the people from the civil society and industry bodies.

According to Mihir Shah, member in-charge of the rural development in the plan panel, the idea is to ask people working at the ground level about how the government polices can be made more effective. To take a discussion on approach for 12th plan wider, the commission has launched a website 12thplan.gov.in to seek views of people on new initiatives.