NEW DELHI: With a BJP-led government in power at the Centre, the right wing is gearing up to occupy the centre stage in the country.
If the UPA had its National Advisory Council with left-of-the-centre think tanks driving the policy formulation, with good measure of literature festivals celebrating the liberal thought thrown in, the right wing is slowly coming up with its own set -- from conclaves, international conferences, to seminars for policy advocacy.
On Sunday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go into a huddle for the first time with all the Chief Ministers to discuss the future of Planning Commission, he will have before him suggestions mooted by a RSS-inclined think tank, India Policy Foundation (IPF), advocating greater role for private participation in policy formulation.
IPF director Rakesh Sinha, associate professor at the Delhi University, wrote to Modi on Saturday saying his “revolutionary” idea to replace the Planning Commission led them to hold a seminar and formulate suggestions.
Sinha had suggested four names for the policy body shorn of its “Nehruvian past” -- National Commission for Planning and Development, National Commission for Policy and Planning, National Transformation Commission for Development and National Federal Commission for Growth and Justice.
Among the suggestions mooted include doing away with five-year plans to three-year plans to sectoral planning for nine years.
“The Planning Commission has been a victim of infantile disorder. Nehruvian planning was obsessed with socialism and it delegitimised the private initiatives, capital and entrepreneurship,” Sinha said.
Suggesting an 11-member body apart from chairman and vice-chairman, with each member heading a division, the new entity should work as a think tank and also as a planner.
The IPF sets its eyes on more serious topics-coming out with a health policy early next year, apart from providing inputs on education and democratic governance. As the ‘new world order’ takes shape, with right-wing gaining prominence, Sinha says, “Earlier, the government co-opted the thinkers and included them into the government bodies, rather than giving space to wide generation of ideas. We are now providing for critical ideas for the policy.”
A Sangh ideologue said after the new government took over, the right-wing thinkers were coming out of the shadows.
“We need to build their confidence, strengthen them in their fields and create a space for engagement with each other,” a senior BJP leader said.
The India Foundation (IF), which has BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Shaurya Doval, son of national security advisor Ajit Doval, as directors, is bringing together 70 think tanks, ministers and politicians from across the world, to address a select group of over 400 participants, at a five-star hotel in Goa.
A BJP think tank, the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, last month held a closed-door roundtable before the PM’s visit to Australia to discuss areas of interests, and focus.