BENGALURU: The Centre’s decision to replace the Planning Commission with NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) came under sharp criticism from Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday.
After participating in a marathon seven-hour Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting, Siddaramaiah said that he had “strongly opposed” the idea to set up NITI Ayog.
The chief minister said that the Planning Commission had steered the nation on the path of structured development for over six decades.
“There was no need for the Union government to do away with the institution that had served the nation as a useful institution in implementing the five-year plans,” he said.
The CLP meeting was convened to discuss issues relating to the recommendations of the Ramesh Kumar Committee Report on amending the Panchayat Raj Act and the Nanjayyanamath report on reorganisation of panchayat bodies in the state. Siddaramaiah strongly felt for the need to implement the recommendations.
Addressing the meeting, he said there is a need to strengthen the Panchayat Raj institutions to realise the concept of gram swaraj.
Commending the efforts made by Ramesh Kumar, who has suggested to bring over 88 amendments to the existing Panchayat Raj Act 1993, Siddaramaiah promised to make an earnest effort to incorporate the recommendations at the earliest. If the recommendations of the Nanjayyanamath report are implemented, the state will have 439 more gram panchayats.
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil, who had briefed the media on the deliberations of the CLP said, “The chief minister has advised to work out an action plan at the earliest to implement the recommendations of the expert committees.”
He said that almost all the members who spoke on the subject at the meeting welcomed the initiatives taken by the state government to bring reforms in the Panchayat Raj system.
The elections to the panchayats will not delayed, he said and added that a Bill to amend the existing Act would be tabled in the ensuing joint session of the legislature. The minister said that as many as 108 MLAs, 28 MLCs and five MPs of the party attended the “historic” CLP meeting.