Sunday saw the Niti Aayog’s governing council – its apex body – meet to thrash out the 15-year vision document that would lay down the roadmap for India’s development.
The Narendra Modfi government set up the Niti Aayog in 2015 to replace the Nehru-era Planning Commission as the top-most body to draw up long-term policies for India’s social and economic growth.
Gone are the 5-year plans of Planning Commission. In its place, the Aayog will set goals for 15 years, with interim targets at 7- and 3-year marks to keep development plans on track
Here are 5 key changes Niti Aayog has made in the last couple of years:
A new planning timeline
The Niti Aayog sets a 15-year plan for government actions for achieving social goals such as poverty reduction, and improving health and sanitation.
Another seven-year strategy document for 2017-24 will chart out policy action outlined as the “National Development Agenda”.
A three-year “Action Agenda” from 2017-18 to 2019-20 is being worked out to assess funding requirements.
The plan panel proposed major changes in the agricultural produce marketing committee act, the law that sets in place systems to ensure farmers get a fair deal for their produce and are not exploited. Once implemented by states, the APMC changes will be one of the biggest reforms in the country.
The panel has also drawn up an agricultural marketing and farmer-friendly reforms index to assess and encourage states to implement new rules.
At present, more than two-thirds of Indian states have not been able to reach even the halfway mark of reforms score in the year 2016-17.
Preparing for second Green Revolution
Increasing crop yields to feed 1.23 billion Indians is high on the agenda of the government. A task force, headed by Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya, also suggested ways of raising agricultural productivity and making farming remunerative for farmers. The panel suggested reforms in land leasing policies, ramping up of land records and land titles, preparing the country for the second “Green Revolution” in eastern states, and addressing farmers’ distress.
After the demonetisation of high-value notes in November, Niti Aayog has driven new initiatives to push Indians to go for digital payments. It has been training officials of various ministries, at the central and state levels alike, to adopt digital modes of transaction. It announced award programmes for businesses and individuals to use cashless transactions.
The Centre allocated Rs 50 crore to states for moving 5 crore no-frill Jan Dhan accounts to the digital platform.
Improving health, education and access to water
The plan panel came up with indices for measuring states’ performance in health, education and water management. The indices helping states gauge the results of social programmes, compete with each other and share best practices and innovations.
The Aayog also suggested clubbing various social programmes and centrally-sponsored schemes under 28 umbrella projects.
The panel suggested changes in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, skill development, poverty measurement, Atal Innovation Mission.