As has been speculated in the past few days, the end of India’s Planning Commission is now certain. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his debut Independence Day address on Friday announced scrapping of the Planning Commission.
He added that a new institution would be built in its place responding to the demands of a changed political and economic landscape.
The role of India’s premier policy making body had weakened in the past few years as India moved from a socialist economy to a much more liberalised economy since the early 1990s.
The Modi government had not appointed a new deputy chairman for the commission since it came into power on May 16, 2014. Its last deputy chairman was Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who quit after the new government came into power.
Modi said in his speech that the new institution “would be built to foster strong economic federalism, public-private partnership and prepare India to engage more effectively with changing economic realities. It is important that the states have a strong participation in the country economic development and decision making,” according to a report in The Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile Times Now reported, quoting sources, that it would be called the National Development and Reforms Commission.
Make India a manufacturing hub
Prime minister has also made an appeal to the world to make India a manufacturing hub. “Come make in India. Be it plastics or cars or satellites or agricultural products, come make in India,” Modi made a call in his address.
He, however, did not say whether the country would embark on major reforms like land and labour reforms which are essential to make India a manufacturing destination.
He said India must dream of having ‘Made in India’ products across the world, which would be a direct positioning of India against China which is currently the world’s manufacturing capital.
Modi called for encouraging the manufacturing sector, and channelising the strength of the youth through manufacturing. He also appealed for quality and at the same time environment-friendly manufacturing. “Manufactured goods should have zero defect as also zero effect on environment,” Modi said.
Modi also spoke out against infighting and internal tussles within the government and vowed to fire up the bureaucracy to deliver results. Modi said the country cannot progress if there was disunity in government.
The other major highlight of the speech was character building of the nation. He appealed to the nation to keep the surroundings clean. He also spoke about treating girls and boys equally in a family.