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Respected Prime Minister, The Chief Secretary of my State has received a letter from the CEO of NIT! Ayog that a meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Ayog will be held on 15" June, 2019 under your Chairmanship in Delhi. _In this context, | would like to bring the following facts to your kind attention: i. On 15" August, 2014 you announced that a new institution will be ‘created to replace the Planning Commission. Since, the Planning Commission represented the federalist polity of the country with cooperative federalism in matters of the economy and allocation of resources as its goal, | was surprised by your unilateral announcement which was not preceded by any discussion with the Chief Ministers of the States for their views. i, You are aware that the predecessor of the Planning Commission was the National Planning Committee formed by none other than Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in 1938. You are also aware that the Planning Commission formed on 15" March, 1950 was endowed with financial powers and would play a key role in deciding thé expenditure plan of the Central Ministries as well as those of the States. Furthermore, the proposals to the Planning Commission came from the grassroots of every State, right from the Block level and then to the District level, inclusive of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies. These proposals were then assimilated into the State Plans which then was sent to the Planning Commission. In other words, this was a Bottom-Up exercise across the country in a spirit of federalism. You may also be aware that there were frequent conferences and meetings of State Chief Ministers and Ministers at the Zonal Level to sort out the problems on resource mobilisation, engaging the Planning Commission. iii, A meeting was called on 7" December, 2014 by you through a D.O. letter from you to all Chief Ministers to seek the views of the States’ on a strong institutional mechanism to deepen the engagement with the States with the Centre, to accelerate the national development agenda. vi. vii. viii. Prior to this meeting, | wrote you a D.O. letter dated 4" December, 2014 expressing my concern regarding the dissolution of the Planning Commission and the creation of a new structure. Since the Planning Commission had played a significant role in working with the States and in even supporting the restructuring of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, the States had more flexibility, In fact, | had proposed in my letter to you that instead of setting up @ new body in place of the Planning Commission, it may be more appropriate, to assign the decision making responsibilities of the Planning Commission to the Inter State Council which is a constitutional entity created under Article 263 of the Constitution, formed by a Presidential Order dated 28 May, 1990. In the'same vein, | had also proposed that the National Development Council could be subsumed within the new dispensation. Unfortunately, a new body called NITI Ayog was formed on 1* January, 2015 in place of Planning Commission; without assigning any financial powers to assist the States, based on their need assessment, as was being done by the erstwhile Planning Commission. Furthermore, the new body also lacks the power of supporting the Annual Plan of the States. | now find that senior officials of the NITI Ayog themselves are making public statements that they should be given some powers in allocating development expenditures to States - a role that Planning Commission had played earlier. We seem to have come a full circle | also find that a former Chairman of the Finance Commission of India, in a recent research paper, has suggested that NITI Ayog be given financial powers as a part of efforts to address regional imbalances — something that erstwhile Planning Commission did and NIT! Ayog lacks. | have also found that a former Union Minister who is a noted Economist has also echoed the views that NITI Ayog should have Powers to allocate funds - similar to the erstwhile Planning Commission. Given the fact that the NITI Ayog has no financial powers and the power to support State Plans, it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting of a. body that is bereft of any financial powers. The experience of the last four and a half years we had, with the NITI Ayog, brings me back to my earlier suggestion to you that we focus on the Inter State Council constituted under Article 263 of the Constitution, with appropriate modifications, to enable ISC to discharge its augmented range of functions as the nodal entity of the country. This will deepen cooperative federalism and strengthen federal polity. May | also reiterate that the National Development Council which has been given a quiet burial, may also be subsumed within the broadened constitutional body of Inter State Council With regards,