New Delhi, Jan 11, 2017: An RSS-affiliate, Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Tuesday held a bi-annual review meeting on two years contribution of government’s think tank ‘Niti Aayog’ and has questioned its role.
In a conclusion of the round table conference in New Delhi, SJM said the body had failed to live up to expectations that it would recast India’s economic planning by making it more indigenous and asked, “What differences has NITI Aayog made in these two years?”
On a day that Niti Aayog brought out a study on how demonetisation didn’t impact farmers, the participants criticised the commission for venturing into sectors like agriculture and health, where its understanding of issues was questionable. Experts said Niti Aayog leadership was confused about its role, whether it was a think tank or a policy-making institute.
While reviewing NITI Aayog’s work in the areas of agriculture, GM seed, health care and poverty alleviation, the RSS affiliate launched scathing remarks.
The meeting was attended by experts in the field of planning, health and agriculture and chaired by SJM’s Ashwani Mahajan. Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy also attended the opening session of the roundtable but didn’t address the gathering.
Other peoples included former CAG V N Kaul, BJP spokesperson on economic issues Gopal Agarwal, former chairman of Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices, who currently heads the land policy cell at Niti Aayog, T Haque and Bhartiya Kisan Sangh’s Mohini Mohan Mishra.
It was the first time that SJM organised a round table conference on the Aayog’s performance.
Meanwhile, SJM national co-convenor, Dr Ashwani Mahajan said the manch does not agree with the approach of economists like Amartya Sen, who advocate entitlement based subsidies but not of creating jobs, just as the SJM doesn’t agree with the approach of current Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya that economic growth is the only panacea to uplift the poor.
“There were expectations that Niti Aayog will bridge the lacunae of the Planning Commission, with its ‘one size fits all’ approach,” Mahajan said.