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65 yrs old Planning Commission replaced by NITI Aayog; PM to head new body

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New Delhi (Jan. 01, 2015): The 65-year-old Planning Commission was Thursday replaced by a new body, NITI Aayog, that will be headed by the Prime Minister, while all chief ministers will be on its governing council to evolve national development priorities with the involvement of states.

Unlike its predecessor set up by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the socialist command economy era, NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), will have all Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors on its Governing Council, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, described as a landmark change that will foster spirit of cooperative federalism.

"Having served as a CM (Chief Minister) in the past, I am very much aware of the importance of actively consulting the states. NITI Aayog does precisely that," tweeted Modi, who had in his Independence Day speech mooted the idea of replacing the Commission with a new and more relevant body.

"Through the NITI Aayog we wish to ensure that every individual can enjoy the fruits of development & aspire to lead a better life (inclusive growth)," he said.

The body will have a Vice Chairperson and CEO in addition to five full-time members and two part-time members, while four union ministers would serve as ex-officio members.

Noted economist Arvind Panagariya is tipped to be first Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog.

Modi in his tweet said, "A pro-people, pro-active & participative development agenda stressing on empowerment & equality is the guiding principle behind NITI Aayog. Through NITI Aayog, we bid farewell to a 'one size fits all' approach towards development. The body celebrates India's diversity & plurality."

The NITI Aayog, he hoped, will emerge as an active and important institution that will play a pivotal role in India's development journey in the years to come. It will provide key inputs on various policy matters.