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No proposal to restructure plan panel: Govt

‘There is, at present no proposal under consideration of the government to restructure the Planning Commission,’ Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh said in written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

On how government will ensure work at the commission in the absence of members, Singh said, ‘The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Planning Commission. Besides, in the current Council of Ministers, the MOS (Planning) has been given Independent Charge.’

The officials of the commission are discharging their duties under the overall supervision and guidance of secretary, Planning. These arrangements ensure that the work relating to Five Year Plan, Mid Term Review, evaluation and appraisal of projects etc. are attended without any delay.’

The new government has not reconstituted the commission.

The term of the deputy chairman and members of the commission is coterminous with that of the prime minister and all of them have resigned following the change of government in May this year after the general elections.

The appointment of Singh as Minister of State for Planning with independent charge had raised speculation that the government would restructure the commission.

Elaborating further the minister said, ‘The 12th Plan has already been formulated and after approval of the same by the National Development Council...The recommendations of the 12th Plan are effective till 2016-17 and continue to provide a broad framework for formulation of policies and allocation of resources including formulation of union budget of current year.’

In 2004, the government had taken time to reconstitute the commission and Montek Singh Ahluwalia took charge as Deputy Chairman just days before presentation of the final Budget for 2004-05.

The UPA came to power in May 2004 and presented the Budget on 8 July. Ahluwalia officially took over on 4 July.

Meanwhile, replying to another question, Singh informed the House, ‘Presently on an average, over four lakh (Aadhaar) enrolments are carried out daily.’

The minister was replying to a question whether it is a fact that Aadhaar has suffered set back with enrolment process that involved capturing peoples' biometrics virtually coming to a grinding halt across the country.

On protest by enrollment agencies against penalties levied on them by the UIDAI, he said, ‘The representations and suggestions received from enrollment agencies were duly considered by UIDAI and suitable changes incorporated in existing system. Such fine tuning of procedure is an on-going activity.’
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