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Non-BJP chief ministers have varied views on dismantling plan panel

Congress chief ministers Sunday opposed the government's move to replace Planning Commission with a new body while some other non-Bharatiya Janata Party chief ministers left the issue to the government.



New Delhi: Congress chief ministers Sunday opposed the government's move to replace Planning Commission with a new body while some other non-Bharatiya Janata Party chief ministers left the issue to the government.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who did not attend the meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue here, wrote a letter to him saying that instead of setting up a new body, the planning task should be given to the Inter-State Council.

She urged him not to "dilute the autonomy of the states" but to protect and strengthen the nation's federal character.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who also heads the Biju Janata Dal, said he left it to the "wisdom of the central government and to the prime minister to frame the structure and processes of the new planning institutional set-up".

"Our stand is that it should ensure just, fair and equitable resource allocation and respect the principles of federal polity," he said.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of the Congress said the Commission has over the years been instrumental in promoting decentralised planning and the central government's "arbitrary decision" to dismantle it without convening a meeting of the NDC or consulting the states "undermines the federal structure".

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the commission in its present form should be strengthened by giving it additional functions so as to meet aspirations of the states.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said the states and the central government should have equal participation in a new body to replace the panel, while his Tamil Nadu counterpart O. Panneerselvam sought chief ministers' representation in the new body, which should prepare sector-wise strategic vision documents specifying the medium- and long-term perspective.

 

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