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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Set up reform commission instead of plan panel: IEO

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 24, 2014
First Published: 00:19 IST(24/6/2014) | Last Updated: 00:42 IST(24/6/2014)

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) has asked the Prime Minister’s Office to abolish the Planning Commission and instead set up Reform and Solution Commission as a government think tank through an Act of Parliament.

In a note sent to the PMO, the office set up by the UPA government under the aegis of the plan panel, has suggested that the powers of disbursing funds to the state governments should be given to the finance ministry, which is accountable to Parliament unlike the plan panel.

“The function of allocating plan expenses which the Planning Commission currently discharges without any constitutional or legislative mandate should be performed by an expert body… such a body already exists in the form of Finance Commission which has this authority bestowed upon it by the Constitution,” says the 11-page note submitted by IEO director general Ajay Chhibber.

It also suggested that the Finance Commission should be a permanent body responsible for the allocation of centrally-collected revenues to the states working with the help of a panel of advisors with domain-level expertise. And finance ministry should disburse funds on its recommendations.

Presenting a critique on how the panel has turned into a “control” commission, the note said the members of the panel were “susceptible” to pressures from the PMO and it can lead to partial treatment in allocation of resources amongst the states. 

The note was also critical of the panel being turned into a “parking lot” for IAS officers having no domain knowledge. With IAS officers reporting to the secretary, the note said the panel was no different than central ministries in way of its administration.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has publically sought dismantling of the commission saying it has outlived its utility in the modern economic era.


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