Plan panel needed reorientation, not political burial: Congress

 Congress on Sunday said dismantling Planning Commission will be "unwarranted, shortsighted and dangerous" as it will have long term adverse effect on Centre-state relations and asserted that the plan panel needed "reorientation" and not "political burial".

PTI| Updated: Dec 07, 2014, 19:16 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress on Sunday said dismantling Planning Commission will be "unwarranted, shortsighted and dangerous" as it will have long term adverse effect on Centre-state relations and asserted that the plan panel needed "reorientation" and not "political burial".

"The move is shortsighted and dangerous. It will also have long term adverse impact on central and state relations. Any move to rename or restructure is unwarranted in national interest and must be opposed. There may have been shortcomings of the Planning Commission but it also has inherent strains.

"What the Planning Commission needs is reorientation and not renaming or a political burial," party spokesperson Anand Sharma said in a statement as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with chief ministers to deliberate on replacement of the Planning Commission.

He said that it is interesting that the?Prime Minister called a meeting of the chief ministers to discuss the future of the Planning Commission almost four months after? "unilaterally" announcing the decision to dismantle the commission.

"It is ironic that the Prime Minister has claimed, that, the move is to empower the state governments and strengthen the federal structure, after having taken the arbitrary decision without convening the meeting of National Development Council nor consulting the states," said Sharma, who is the Deputy Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha.

Alleging that this "unwarranted" action has 'undermined the federal structure" of the country, he said that the importance of the Planning Commission is to mediate between the Centre and the states for planning and funding of the plans, thereby strengthening India's federal structure.

Sharma recalled that?Plannning Commission of India was established by a resolution of the Cabinet on March 15, 1950 to provide for land development and a means to raise the living standards of the people in independent India.

Claiming that the plan panel has evolved over a period of time and made a notable contribution in plan development through the five-year plans until now, Sharma said, "even in a market?economy, many aspects need planning since they require cooperation of multiple layers of Government as there exist cross cutting issues across different sectors".

The former Commerce Minister noted that though India has embraced market economy, it is a still a country where the fruits of development have not reached millions of people.

"Therefore Planning is essential. India cannot let the market forces decide the destiny of marginalised people.

"The Planning Commission has adapted to the changed economic development to meet the objectives of the economic growth, infrastructure building and planned development."

He also noted that the Unique Identification Authority of India of UIDAI is housed in the Planning Commission and is tasked with the important national mission of Aadhar and direct benefit of transfer to the citizens.

Sharma also reacted sharply to Finance Minister Arun Jaitely's defence of the government's decision to restructure the plan panel and attacked the Prime Minister Narendra alleging that the decision re-confirms that he a "master of re-packaging and renaming".

"Instead of apologising for the undemocratic and the arbitrary action of the Prime Minister in not consulting the states, or the Chief Ministers, it is astonishing that the Finance Minister is claiming that something great is being achieve," he added.

"It is not constructive federalism but insulting the federal spirit of the Constitution. It re-confirms that Prime Minister Modi not only lacks vision but it is a master of repackaging and renaming," the Congress leader said.

Meanwhile, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav also criticised the move to replace the Planning Commission.

Pointing out that changing the institution would change the track of the nation's planning, he said that Planning Commission was built after tremendous efforts and the move to tamper with it was wrong.