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PM Modi pitches for ‘Team India’ to get states onboard

Pegging his address on the need to strengthen ‘cooperative federalism’, the PM said that states must have a greater role in the new body which will replace the existing Planning Commission. In his opening remarks at the meeting, he stressed the need for abandoning the incremental approach. The process of policy planning also has to change from “top to bottom” to “bottom to top”, he said, stressing that it was impossible for the nation to develop unless states develop.

Modi said the replacement to the Planning Commission must incorporate the concept of “Team India”, which according to him, was a combination of three teams - the PM and CMs, the Union Council of Ministers and the bureaucracy in the Centre and states. He recalled that former PM Manmohan Singh had also stressed the need for a re-look at the Planning Commission. Recalling his own experience as chief minister of Gujarat, Modi said, he had felt the need for a better platform to articulate the view of the states. Listing out the national priorities on the growth path, the Modi further said, the time has come to develop a new mechanism to deliver growth and development.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley summed up the discussions saying that the role of the Planning Commission must be relooked in order to expand economic activity, adding that the new body, which will replace the existing commission, will aim towards cooperative federalism. “The thrust of the new model would be cooperative federalism. Both state and private sector would have an important role and the role, relevance and restructuring has to be looked at afresh,” Jaitley said. Jaitley said there was a need to decentralise planning and states have to be strengthened. “There can’t be a universal scheme which applies to all states,” he said.

“Some participants felt whether the current Planning Commission could evolve into the desired structure. Most Chief Ministers favoured an alternative structure where the Centre, the states and experts could participate,” he added.

Jaitley also stated that the meeting was attended by all the chief ministers except CMs of West Bengal and Mizoram, who were represented by their finance ministers. Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir, which are currently in the midst of their five-phase state assembly elections, were represented by senior officials. 
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