India is changing the way it plans. It is thinking long-term.
From 2017, when the last five-year plan, a Soviet-era relic, winds down, the country will switch to a 15-year roadmap, in keeping with the global trend and its ambition to retain its status as the world’s growth engine.
Niti Aayog would draw the contours, specify targets, fix milestones and pilot the implementation of the new vision that would go “beyond the traditional area of ‘Plan’ and cover the aspects of internal security and defence”, a government source, who did not wish to be identified, told HT.
“A longer vision of 15 years will be formulated keeping in mind the broader social objectives, changes in the world economy and the need to achieve sustainable development goals,” the source said.
A seven-year “strategy” -- the National Development Agenda -- will be factored into the 15-year vision document.
“This (the seven-year strategy) will convert the longer vision into implementable policy and action,” the source said.
A stock-taking exercise of sorts will be undertaken in 2019-20 to align the vision document’s goals with the financial resources.
A review will be done in 2019 as the 14th finance commission’s recommendations will remain in force till 2020.
Set up under Article 280 of the Constitution, the finance commission primarily recommends measures and methods on how revenues should be shared between the Centre and states.
A review of the longer-term vision in 2019 will also to make it consistent with the periodicity of the political mandate. The next general elections are scheduled the same year.
“A comprehensive new approach combining long-term vision with medium-term national agenda and short-term action plan is required to be adopted,” the source said.
Niti Aayog will also create a dashboard for reviewing and fixing annual outcome targets for all the major schemes, the source said.
The government will, as announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech in February, also do away with the difference between “plan” and “non-plan” expenditure from next year.