NEW DELHI: Opposition today criticised as mere "fluff" and "gimmickry" the government's decision to restructure Planning Commission and rechristen it "Neeti Ayog" and voiced apprehension that it will discriminate against the states and help "corporates call the shots" in policy making.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury termed the renaming of Planning Commission as "aniti and durniti" (no policy and bad policy).
"If government wants to greet people with fluff and not substance on the first day of 2015, then there is nothing more that can be said.... If the North Block or the Finance Ministry have a very short-term view of both fiscal and monetary objective, is going to be the final arbiter between the states and the Centre....
"It being the stake holder in the process, I am afraid, is going to discriminate against the states," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
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"After all, what was the Planning Commission doing? It used to plan policy. So by changing the nomenclature from Planning Commission to Neeti Ayog, what is the message this government is trying to send," the senior Congress Party leader said.
Congress' opposition to restructuring of the Planning Commission was based on "principles," Tewari said.
"It's not a question of fighting a war, it's a matter of principle. The opposition BJP used to go to extra lengths talking about federalism and how the sanctity and sacrosanct of federalism has to be maintained. And now they are going exactly the reverse," he said.
Yechury said, "Just a change of nomenclature and gimmickry does not serve any purpose. Let us see what the government plans to do with it."
The Planning Commission, which was established in 1950, will be called 'Neeti Ayog' in its new avatar, months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that it will be replaced by a new body.
The decision comes nearly three weeks after Modi held consultations with chief ministers at a meeting where most favoured restructuring of the Socialist-era body but some Congress Chief Ministers opposed disbanding of the existing set-up.
Veteran CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said that dismantling of the Planning Commission and bringing in a new body in its place will lead to an unregulated economy.
"It is not a change of name. The Planning Commission is being abolished because they (government) don't believe in planning," he said.
"The Government would like to have a full market economy (which is) totally unregulated," he said adding, "If this becomes the policy of the government to not help advance the country, control inflation and create job opportunities, it will not be good for the country."