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Planning Commission and Niti Ayog: Expectations and Realities

29 Sep 2015

IMI-Kolkata hosts BEA’s mid-year seminar

Theme of seminar was ‘Planning Commission and NITI Aayog: Experiences and Expectations’

The mid-year seminar 2015 of the Bangiya Arthaniti Parishad, or the Bengal Economic Association (BEA), was held on September 27 in collaboration with the International Management Institute (IMI) Kolkata at the Institute’s campus in Alipore.

The theme of the seminar was ‘Planning Commission and NITI Aayog: Experiences and Expectations’. The inaugural ceremony was attended by guests like Prof Anup Kumar Sinha of IIM Calcutta, Biswajit Guha, Senior Vice President, Bangiya Arthaniti Parishad, and Arindam Banik, Director, IMI-Kolkata, as well as members of the Parishad and the faculty and staff members from IMI-Kolkata.

In his welcome address, Arindam Banik stated the role of the BEA, and similar organisations, in promoting research and discussions on contemporary topics along with the significance of such endeavours for policy making in India.

Prof Anup Kumar Sinha, in his inaugural speech, mentioned that the Planning Commission had been unsuccessful in bringing the transformation of India as projected, the major causes being corruption and faulty strategies. The Indian states pursued their self-interests instead of focusing on a common goal to take the nation forward. He added that the newly constituted National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog aims at shared vision and promotion of the concept of “cooperative federalism”. He stressed on the fact that the states should themselves take active part in development and poverty alleviation and there is a need to develop strong infrastructure to nurture the talent of the middle income group.

The researchers and the academicians presented their papers in two technical sessions based on the theme. The papers addressed the flaws in the Planning Commission, its ‘top-down’ decision making approach in contrast to the ‘bottom-up’ approach stressed by the Aayog, and the expectations from the Aayog.

The chairpersons for the two sessions were Prof Ratan Kumar Ghosal, Vice President, BEA, and Sandip Kumar Paul, Principal, South City College respectively. The chief commentators for the sessions were Biswajit Guha and Baniprasad Bhattacharyya, EC member, BEA. The commentators presented their annotations on each paper, while referring to the paradigm shift in the context of planning in India.