While the BJP led government is upbeat about setting up a new institution to replace the Planning Commission, political parties in the Opposition have protested against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to scrap the Planning Commission.
The Congress has described the move as “half baked” and “arbitrary”; the Left Parties and the Trinamool Congress have questioned the haste to diosmantle the body without having any consultations.
Speaking to reporters today, Anand Sharma Congress spokesperson and former Commerce minister said, “The Prime Minister should have taken on board the views of Chief Ministers before taking such a decision. It’s a knee jerk and half-baked decision.” Citing the PM’s desire to have the public tweet about their suggestions of what the new body should be, Sharma said, “there is no clarity then why the need to dismantle it.”
Recalling how former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had advocated the need to restructure the Commission he added that the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia had even prepared a 15-page note on it. “There is a difference between restructuring and dismantling,” he emphasised.
Left Parties have also spoken out against the decision. CPIM’s Politburo in a statement said, “Prime Minister Modi has announced that the Planning Commission would be wound up. This step has been publicly taken a day after the Parliament session ended, without any discussion in Parliament or consultation with political parties or other concerned entities.”
Citing the “arbitrariness” of the decision the Left parties, it added, “The role of the Planning Commission has already been curtailed in the last two decades under liberalisation. What Modi has done is to give it a final burial.”
Infact, its arch rival the Trinamool Congress also issued a statement from Kolkata slamming the move. Trinamool Congress’ Sudip Bandyopadhyay demanded to know why the decision was not announced in parliament when it was in session but announced a day later from the ramparts of Red Fort. Bandyopadhyay said the Plan Com was a “bridge between the centre and the states” “The state government’s approach the Commission on various occasions and needs.” The TMC would be “raising this issue in the Winter session of parliament”.
Both the Congress and the Left parties lambasted not consulting state chief ministers before taking such a decision. While the CPIM is of the view that “Planning Commission should be made an executive wing of the National Development Council so that it becomes a truly federal institution”, the Congress accused the BJP of flagrantly violating federalism by taking a “ unilateral decision.”