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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Plan panel with reduced powers to be named soon

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 20, 2014
First Published: 00:19 IST(20/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:43 IST(20/7/2014)

The NDA government has decided to constitute the planning commission with the country’s top advisory body having diluted regulatory powers. An announcement in this regard is expected soon, sources told HT.

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The all powerful plan panel in its new avatar will be a think tank with powers to implement the ideas approved by the Prime Minister’s office.

Its regulatory over-reach witnessed during previous UPA regime would end but it would remain a tool with the PMO to monitor functioning of ministries and state governments, a senior government functionary said.“A powerful PMO always has an empowered planning commission”.

“We have started the consultation process on annual plans with the state governments and the meeting with the chief ministers will start once the new deputy chairperson is appointed,” a plan panel official said.

Government sources said the Prime Minister’s office has already indicated at the constitution of the plan panel and have asked panel’s member secretary Sindhushree Khullar to start the preparatory work.

All advisors in the panel have been told to initiate appraisal of the new proposals announced in the budget with the ministries. Once the panel will clear a proposal, the finance ministry will release funds to implement them.

“Unlike popular perception there is no reduction in my work. In fact, it has increased as the ministries I deal with are asking for more inputs from us,” said a senior plan panel advisor.

Another advisor quipped that the ministries were pushing for faster appraisal of proposals so that they can seek funds from the finance ministry at the earliest. “Performance appraisal of bureaucrats has been linked with push to new proposals of the NDA government and they want approvals fast,” he said.

The panel officials say the government has given them a window of just four months as process for the next budget would start in the month of December.


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