A grand strategy in the NITI Aayog should include uniform growth, employment creation as a dominant goal, clarity on the concept of self-reliance (vertically integrated versus larger role in global supply chain), choices on investment and linkages with global actors, and environmental management, amongst other things.
Is it happening?
To be fair, NITI may have been focusing on all or some of these things. The problem, as it appears, is that it is yet not able to offer a coherent, consultative and strategic outlook for India. Yes, it is not easy to articulate policies for a country as diverse as ours without setting up robust processes of consultations with states, institutions and organisations at different levels of federal polity. Incidentally, the charter of NITI was created to facilitate precisely this.
Charter of NITI Aayog –
- To foster cooperative federalism and to achieve the goal of transforming India for the better, the charter of NITI Aayog—amongst other things—seeks to create structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the states; develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans across levels of government; create collaborative communities with think tanks, research institutions and experts et al.
- As per the charter, NITI is also meant to offer itself as a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of India’s development agenda through a coherent and cogent approach.
- A large part of the charter of NITI envisages it to become a ‘process and facilitation commission’ rather than a ‘solutions commission’.
- It is heartening to see that seven years and two VCs later, the chords being struck by the current Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Suman Bery are perhaps most in harmony with NITI’s charter than ever in its short existence since 2015.
What is being proposed?
- Ahead of the Governing Council meeting of NITI and after meeting all the chief secretaries from all states, Bery has laid out his thoughts for NITI in the form of seven propositions.
- These include —
- highlighting the importance of dialogue with states towards India’s growth agenda;
- need to improve the performance of laggard states;
- bolstering social outcomes along with economic progress;
- recalibrating the process of growth from the grassroots rather than top down;
- better manage urbanisation to improve quality of life metrics;
- offering NITI as a platform to enable cross-sharing of good practices, insights and perspectives on various issues; and
- mainstreaming climate action.
Way forward –
- The debate in a nutshell highlights that the reason why all economic philosophies have failed globally is because they have operated in a paradigm where wealth accumulation and distribution has been a top-down phenomenon. If we are to succeed then the paradigm needs to reverse.
- Lastly, if there is a singular pivot around which NITI can orient all it efforts, it may be to catalyse a National Employment Policy at the intersection of industrial, trade and competition policies.
Remember, that NITI is an abbreviation for National Institute for Transforming India.
Source – Financial Express
QUESTION – The NITI Aayog has marked its seventh anniversary recently but it needs a transformative approach to push the benefits of economic growth from top to the grassroots. Discuss what is being proposed and how it can be done?