Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the BJP-led Modi government’s NITI Aayog scheme of fudging data and assured to bring a leaner Planning Commission if the party comes back to power.
The NITI Aayog scheme that replaced the Planning Commission in 2015 under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government will return if the Congress is voted to power this year, Rahul Gandhi posted on social media.
“If voted to power, we will scrap the NITI Aayog. It has served no purpose other than making marketing presentations for the PM and fudging data,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Friday.
“We will replace it with a lean Planning Commission whose members will be renowned economists and experts with less than 100 staff,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi’s remark comes after NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar trashed Congress’s minimum income guarantee plan to give the poor Rs 72,000 annually, which was announced by the party chief at a pre-poll campaign.
Rajiv Kumar faced was slammed with a notice from the Election Commission over his remarks criticising the Congress’s election promise of minimum income support for the poor.
In a reply to Gandhi’s comment, Union Minister VK Singh questioned the effectiveness of the Planning Commission. “Your party was in power for 60 odd years, and your family’s version of Planning Commission didn’t deliver much,” VK Singh tweeted.
“Rahul Gandhi, rather than talking about breaking down institutions or tearing up ordinances, think about what you can contribute to the country. Tough ask, eh?” the BJP leader said.
The NITI Aayog or National Institution for Transforming India, whose chairman is PM Modi, is the premier policy think tank of the centre that provides both directional and policy inputs. The think tank on its website said that it’s an important evolutionary change from the past and acts as the quintessential platform of the government to bring states to act together in national interest, and “thereby fosters cooperative federalism”.
The Planning Commission was set up by the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1950. Since then, the emphasis was on a growing public sector with massive public investments in basic and heavy industries. But the plan panel came under increased scrutiny with many experts questioning its role in a market-economy model where private enterprises are the primary growth engines.