Researching NITI Aayog: Drunken Risibility

I am raising the issue of trying to bring NITI Aayog under the purview of fiscal governance. Unlike the Soviet-era Planning Commission of India, this so-called think tank is supposedly to look at a synergistic relation with the Finance Commission. Under the former, Finance Commission was relegated to determining revenue gaps of states and filled up these by means of devolution of taxes and grants in aids. Such constraints elevated Planning Commission’s job to planning capital expenditure. Interestingly, NITI is stripped off what never really was Planning Commission’s mandate, and vested with monitoring progress of programmes. This is where the screw turns, and the role of Finance Commission gets back to the Finance Ministry’s acquiescing to its recommendations. This means that not only NITI acts as a pulley to lift up Finance Commission to its constitutional agenda, but also stays away from influencing Finance Ministry in that the Ministry could work in tandem with Commission in determining capital, grant requirements the states would either fall short of, or enjoy a surplus with. NITI’s creation is politico-financial with the polity deciding on quantum of finance to be disbursed through a blue print that wouldn’t have any autonomy left. So, while targeting mechanisms and instruments to bring constitutional financial institutions under scanner, one should, as a researcher not lose sight of why NITI is an ingenious lubricant to bring forth growth-led development model to fruition…….