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Planning Commission of India: Should it be preserved or abolished?
A Government backed report by Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) has suggested that decade old institution of India that formulates 5-year plan for the country should be abolished.
IEO in its reports has said that since the Planning Commission has defied attempts to reform it to bring it in line with the needs of a modern economy and the trend of empowering the states, it is proposed that the Planning Commission be abolished, as reported by TOI.

Planning Commission, in the past also, have received severe criticism. People would have not forgotten and may have not forgiven the commission for its report in which it had said that if someone in the rural region earns more than Rs 27 rupees and in the cities more than Rs 33, then he or she is not poor.

The same commission on the other side surrounded itself with a huge controversy when it spent Rs 35 lakh on the renovation of its two toilets.

It is said that PM Narendra Modi is not having that good feedback about Planning Commission in his mind since the days of his Chief Ministership in Gujarat.

A TOI report suggests the same, "As leader of the industrial powerhouse Gujarat, he stunned buttoned-down members of the commission last year by turning up at a meeting with a video that accused them of high-handedness and hobbling states with one-size-fits-all policies. Now, as Prime Minister of the country, he looks set to clip the central agency's wings, or perhaps abandon it altogether."

Will it be a good decision to abolish this more than 60-year old institution and replace it with new think tank? Or rather than doing this, the government should bring necessary reforms in the commission?

In a bid to come out with a concrete conclusion on the above questions, we spoke to senior leaders of some political parties in the country.

Lalji Tandon, Sr. BJP Leader

There are suggestions that our economic structure needs to be restructured in big way. Many institutions like Planning Commission were established at a time when government was dominating the economy. And at that time Private sector had no role to play in the economy and various development schemes of the govt used to run at their own speed. According to the present times, the thing which is needed more and is on priority list, cannot be confined to an old structure. There would be new thoughts, there would be new programmes. Such suggestions (to abolish Planning Commission) are coming and will keep coming in. And the final decision will be taken up by the govt.

Rashid Alvi, Sr. Leader, Congress

Government has right to take any of decision as they have got mandate for 5 years. People respect this institution of planning commission as it works independently. It doesn't work under government. And this is the only reason why most probably the chosen vice chairman of this commission are politically active. In spite of this, government is the one to decide and its free to do anything for nations good means. But I believe, the planning commission shouldn't be abolished. Its in record that no questions has been raised against the bonding what state governance and planning commission share. So, I think it shouldn't be abolished.

Mohammad Saleem, Spokesperson of CPM

Planning commission is an important part of India. It (abolishment of planning commission) will be disastrous for India because country needs a planned development. There are many short comings and planning commission's failure to deliver, but still in the entire country, you will find different regions, states, districts which are at different level of development. So, unless you have a planned development, plan modernization of resources, without a centralizing planning I don't think India can be on an economic onslaught.

Dr. Prem Singh, National General Secretary, Socialist Party (India)

I am not able to understand what is the argument behind abolishment of Planning Commission. We are giving our arguments since a long time that since Planning Commission is an extra constitutional body and there was no provision in the constitution also for this, so there shouldn't be any Planning Commission. Our argument is that federal system is spirit of the Constitution and the Planning Commission is against this spirit. Planning Commission has given encouragement to the centralisation to such an extent that states have almost no role to play in getting funds from the Centre. So, Planning Commission in a way is against decentralization. My argument is that if Planning Commission is being abolished to encourage the decentralization of power, administration and resources then it is okay. But so far the performance of PM Narendra Modi shows that he wants to handover power in the hands of bureaucrats. And he wants to centralize the power in the PMO.

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