Skip to main content

Top Modi expert: Niti Ayog to keep critical policy issues in "private domain"; its think-tank role is yet to begin

By Our Representative
A top economist close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bibek Debroy, believes that, whenever the Government of India refers issues needing analysis of the Planning Commission successor Niti Ayog, they would not be made public. One of the three members so far appointed, Debroy said the think-tank has already begun to gets such “issues”, which are referred to it by the government.
“That has started to occur", he said in a recent Government of India blog, adding, though, "But will necessarily be in the private domain, not made public.” And what would go in the public domain? Debroy suggests, that would be assertion of government policies, which the think tank would pick up "suo motu, through a series of working papers”.
A controversial statement coming from a senior expert-turned-government official, Debroy’s idea about Niti's role has come at a time when already strong questions are being raised against different Government of India departments for concealing facts which should be put in the public domain as part of the Right to Information Act’s voluntary disclosure provision.
Senior RTI activist with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Venkatesh Nayak told Counterview that this type of behavior is “so typical of this government”, adding he is approaching the Chief Information Commission, the RTI watchdog of the Government of India, about “about lack of transparency in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs, etc.”
Deboy admitted, even 11 years after the Niti Ayog was formed, replacing the Planning Commission, it yet to begin its function as a think-tank, because it does not have “in-house experts.” He said, this would happen “soon”, as recruitments take place, he regretted this is not being fully appreciated: “Unfortunately, people often begin to judge an organization without bothering to check information that is already in the public domain” on its website.
Pointing out that “different people mean different things” when they refer to Niti’s role as a think-tank, Debroy said, “It is not a think tank that dabbles in the abstract and the esoteric. It is interested in policy and suggesting better policy options, with networking with other such organization, including those that are outside government.”
However, he added, “For this, Niti has to acquire some in-house expertise. Not many people know that the number of positions in Niti has been slashed from around 1250 in the former Planning Commission to around 600. These are positions, with vacancies. Niti doesn’t begin to function only because there is a vice chairman and three members. We are gradually advertising for these positions -- they won’t only be filled from within government.”
Insisting that it would be better to ask what the Niti (which stands for National Institution for Transforming India) Ayog, formally set up on January 1, 2015, is going to do, than what it is doing, Debroy predicts, the think-tank function of the organization will begin in 2016-17, “not before”.
Stating that in 2015-16 “transition” is taking shape, Debroy said, “A large part of Niti’s mandate is the evaluation of public expenditure schemes, the examination of delivery and the linking of these schemes with tangible improvements in outcomes, difficult though this may be for social sectors, especially health.”

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.