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Plan panel revamp is necessary, says Modi

Expressing satisfation at the significant suggestions made by the states on the revamp of the Planning Commission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday told chief ministers here the planning panel would have to reinvent itself to remain more effective and relevant in the present context.

“Most states felt the need for an alternative structure where both the Centre, states and experts could participate, instead of a central structure,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, briefing the reporters here after the meeting, which he too attended.

“A few – three, four – states felt if the present Planning Commission could evolve into that structure,” he added.

Earlier, citing former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks made in April that the commission has no futuristic vision in the post-reform period, Modi said the body should be replaced by an organisation which can strengthen the federal structure and energise states.

“The prime minister said that when he was chief minister of Gujarat, his heart was with the chief ministers and he had felt the need for a better platform to articulate the view of states,” Jaitley said.

According to Modi, the process of policy planning has to change from “top to bottom” to “bottom to top”, the finance minister said.

“The prime minister also noted that in countries such as the US, think tanks that function independently of the government have a major role in policy-making,” he added.

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