There are reasons to believe that Prime Minister Modi has dictatorial governing style. The evidences of same include the abolition of the democratic nature of the institutions. One of them is Planning Commission being replaced by NITI Aayog in January 2015. NITI Aayog is believed to be a facilitator and a think tank that endorses and promotes the prime minister’s agenda.
The unceremonious exit of Arvind Panagariya, the Aayog’s former vice chairman is largely believed to be due to the fact that he was largely insulated from the influence of the government and worked at the right earnest. He charted out the 15-Year Vision and 7-Year Strategy documents, which after his exit, has been thrown in the backburner. Panagariya’s approach has been in line with the 5-Year Plan model followed by the Planning Commission, which was probably not in the best interest of the incumbent government.
The successor of Panagariya, Rajiv Kumar follows the footsteps of prime minister’s dream in the form of Vision 2022 aiming to celebrate the 75th year of Independence of India. The agendas include doubling the income of the farmers, providing pucca houses to all and socio-economic development of 115 backward districts. This approach is sought to be focused on achieving synergy in the efforts of Central, state and local governments. Therefore, despite Aayog losing the independence of Planning Commission is more development oriented than Planning Commission’s allocation oriented approach. Aayog’s priority is seen as the provision of outcomes that are “virtuous cycle of economic development.”
Despite some virtues embedded in Aayog under Rajiv Kumar, the Panagariya’s vision containing fiscal deficit, addressing stressed public-sector banks etc. have not been given importance by the government. The reason cited by various government departments have been that they were not consulted by Panagariya. The politics always plays a big part in our bureaucratic system and this government is no different despite their claim of cleaning up the system.