ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From the Planning Commission to the NITI Aayog

The transition from the Planning Commission to the Niti Aayog reflects the completion of the transition from a state professing anti-imperialism to a neo-liberal state.Niti Aayog will oversee a greater centralisation of powers in the central government, and with the abolition of the National Development Council and its replacement by regional councils, the limited say the states had on policies and the flow of funds stands further eroded. In short, the constraints on state governments will be tightened rather than loosened in theNiti Aayog era.

The idea of “national planning” had been in the air long before independence. Indeed, the Planning Commission established in the Nehru era was the descendant of the National Planning Committee that Subhas Chandra Bose had set up at the suggestion of Meghnad Saha when he was the president of the Congress, with economist K T Shah at its head.

One of K T Shah’s outstanding intellectual contributions had been an estimate, together with K J Khambatta, of the annual “drain” of surplus from “British India” to the home country (a figure later used by Paul Baran in his classic work, The Political Economy of Growth), which gives an inkling of Shah’s world-view. The idea of planning, in short, was closely linked to overcoming colonial exploitation and to redeeming the pledge of the anti-colonial struggle to the people of India (expressed inter alia through the Karachi Congress Resolution of 1931).

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