NITI Aayog pitches for think tanks in states

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, September 12: The NITI Aayog has sent out advisories to the state governments to explore the possibility of setting up their own think tanks which can work on the inclusive agenda.

The move has come after the recently held Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in which the Centre pitched for fiscal discipline for the state governments.

The NITI Aayog has held deliberations with the secretaries of the planning departments of the states recently during which it sought creation of the State Institution for Transformation. The idea is said to have been mooted at the highest level in the government.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state governments are likely to begin working on the creation of the State Institution for Transformation without delay, the Opposition-ruled states are learnt to be weighing the idea.

The NITI Aayog’s pitch has come on the back of an admission that the state governments have in the past been less receptive to the reform agenda.

The state governments have their planning departments run by the bureaucrats, with the administrations mostly banking on the political directions from the ruling political party for policy cues.

With the NITI Aayog at the Centre and its mirror-images in the States, it’s being hoped that there could be better collaboration between the Centre and the state governments on ideation and their execution.

It may be noted that cooperative federalism is among the mandates of the NITI Aayog. The vice chairman and the chief executive officer of the NITI Aayog Suman Bery and Parmeswaran Iyer have begun reaching out to the states to revive the outreach of the think tank panel to work as an intermediary to resolve issues stuck in the bureaucratic layers of the Central government, while also nudging the state administration to actively take part in some of the initiatives of the think tank panel.

The Centre is making a pitch for $5 trillion economy, and wants the state governments to become part of the drive to scale up the economy, and take part in the push for the ‘One District, One Product’ programme.

The NITI Aayog with the state’s own think tank panel wants clear focus on India@2047 goals, achieving lower carbon footprints, inclusive development, larger participation of women in the economy and achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030.

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