Planning Commission to be called Neeti Ayog

Planning Commission, which was established in 1950, has been renamed Neeti Ayog. The decision comes nearly three weeks after Prime Minister, Shri Narendra 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.

Prime Minister earlier had announced in his Independence Day speech that the Planning Commission would be replaced by a new body which is in sync with the contemporary economic world. However, while addressing the Chief Ministers on December 7, Prime Minister had invoked former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had said on April 30 last year that the current structure has no “futuristic vision in the post-reform period.” Prime Minister had pushed for an effective structure which strengthens “cooperative federalism” and the concept.

Planning Commission of India

The Planning Commission was an institution in the Government of India, which formulates India’s Five-Year Plans, among other functions. It is located at Yojana Bhawan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi. It was established in accordance with article 39 of the constitution which is a part of directive principles of state policy.

Organisation

The composition of the Commission has undergone considerable changes since its inception. With the Prime Minister as the ex officio Chairman, the committee has a nominated Deputy Chairman, who is given the rank of a full Cabinet Minister. Presently the post of Deputy Chairman of the Commission is vacant, after the new Government in the Center.

Cabinet Ministers with certain important portfolios act as ex officio members of the Commission, while the full-time members are experts of various fields like economics, industry, science and general administration.

Present ex officio members of the Commission, are the Finance Minister, Agriculture Minister, Home Minister, Health Minister, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister, Information Technology Minister, Law Minister, HRD Minister and Minister of State for Planning.

The Commission works through its various divisions, of which there are two kinds:

  • General Planning Divisions
  • Programme Administration Divisions

The majority of the experts in the Commission are economists, making the Commission the biggest employer of the Indian Economic Service.

Functions

The Planning Commission’s functions as outlined by the Government’s 1950 resolution are following:

  • To make an assessment of the material, capital and human resources of the country, including technical personnel, and investigate the possibilities of augmenting those are related resources which are found to be deficient in relation to the nation’s requirement.
  • To formulate a plan for the most effective and balanced utilisation of country’s resources.
  • To define the stages, on the basis of priority, in which the plan should be carried out and propose the allocation of resources for the due completion of each stage.
  • To indicate the factors that tends to retard economic development.
  • To determine the conditions which need to be established for the successful execution of the plan within the incumbent socio-political situation of the country.
  • To determine the nature of the machinery required for securing the successful implementation of each stage of the plan in all its aspects.
  • To appraise from time to time the progress achieved in the execution of each stage of the plan and also recommend the adjustments of policy and measures which are deemed important vis-a-vis a successful implementation of the plan.
  • To make necessary recommendations from time to time regarding those things which are deemed necessary for facilitating the execution of these functions. Such recommendations can be related to the prevailing economic conditions, current policies, measures or development programmes. They can even be given out in response to some specific problems referred to the commission by the central or the state governments.

From a highly centralised planning system, the Indian economy is gradually moving towards indicative planning where the Planning Commission concerns itself with the building of a long-term strategic vision of the future and decide on priorities of nation. It works out sectoral targets and provides promotional stimulus to the economy to grow in the desired direction. It also plays an integrative role in the development of a holistic approach to the policy formulation in critical areas of human and economic development. In the social sector, schemes that require co-ordination and synthesis like rural health, drinking water, rural energy needs, literacy and environment protection have yet to be subjected to coordinated policy formulation. It has led to multiplicity of agencies. The commission has now been trying to formulate an integrated approach to deal with this issue. The Planning Commission has asked the States to hike the power tariff to save the ailing power sector. It also called upon the States to utilise the power subsidy for improvement to essential services like drinking water supply, education and health for promoting inclusive growth.

Curative Petition by Swamy in 2G Case Dismissed

Shruti Sethi, Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur

Dr. Subramanian Swamy is an Indian academician, politician, activist and economist.He was the President of the Janata Party which merged with BJP on 11 August 2013. He has previously served as member of the Planning Commission of India and Cabinet Minister of India and has also written extensively on foreign affairs of India dealing largely with China, Pakistan and Israel.

He had filed a petition in the 2G spectrum scam, which has been described as India’s biggest swindle so far against Mr. Chidambaram the then Finance Minister (in 2008) when the Telecom Minister A Raja allegedly broke the rules to help companies who were ineligible to land valuable mobile network licenses at throwaway prices. The CBI is probing the scam in which 14 people and several companies, including the promoters of some of India’s biggest telecom companies, have been accused of conspiring to rig the process of allocation of licenses. The high-profile case is also being investigated by a Joint Parliamentary Committee, which has 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha.

On August 24, 2012, the Bench, headed by Justice Singhvi rejected the petitions filed by Dr.  Subramanian Swamy and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking a CBI probe into Mr. P. Chidambaram’s (Union Minister for Finance as of today) alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.’ It also dismissed Dr. Swamy’s appeal against a trial court order rejecting his plea to make Mr. Chidambaram co-accused along with Mr. Raja.

Then Dr. Swamy applied for a review petition which was rejected in December 2012 by a Bench of Justices Singhvi and Radhakrishnan saying the order “does not suffer from any error apparent” which might warrant reconsideration.

Dr. Swamy then took recourse to a “Curative Petition” which is a procedure evolved by Supreme Court through judicial pronouncement which provide that an aggrieved person, even after final verdict of Supreme Court and after dismissal of review petition may request the court to reconsider its judgment by showing gross miscarriage of justice. The concept of curative petition and the proper analysis of the judgment were pronounced in the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra ((AIR 2002 SC 1771)).

This was Mr. Swamy’s last legal option against Mr. Chidambaram in the high-profile case which has seen unprecedented acrimony between the BJP and the Congress. Dismissing the petition, the court said, “We have gone through the curative petition and the relevant documents. In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated.”

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