India to switch to 15-year perspective planning from 2017

Beginning 2017, when the last of the five-year plans end, India will switch over to longer-term perspective planning and the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog will come up with a 15-year vision document for economic growth in tandem with global trends.

As part of the move, the government will, as announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech in February, also do away with the difference between ''plan'' and ''non-plan'' expenditure from next year.

India, which aspires to retain its status as the world's growth engine, will do away with medium term planning that started in 1951 and switch to longer-term road map for development from 2017, in keeping with the global trend.

NITI Aayog would draw the contours, specify targets, fix milestones and pilot the implementation of the new vision that would go ''beyond the traditional area of 'Plan' covering the entire domain – from farming to space exploration and beyond, reports quoting NITI Aayog sources said.

For the longer-term plan to succeed, the government should also have to prepare a 15-year sustainable development agenda for 2030, reports quoted NC Saxena, former member of the Planning Commission, as saying

''India has to achieve 16 goals which have 169 sub-targets by 2030. These are not only sustainable goals but have a larger focus. So there has to be a vision or plan in place to see how these targets will be met and how much resources will be required to achieve this. So to a certain extent, there is a mandatory part to the NITI Aayog's 15-year development plan,'' he said.

''On the other hand, since the planning commission was abolished, there was no longer any need for 5-year plans given that every department finalizes its budget and the finance ministry takes a final call on the allocations required,'' he added.

''A longer vision of 15 years will be formulated keeping in mind the broader social objectives, changes in the world economy and the need to achieve sustainable development goals,'' a Hindustan Times report quoting sources as saying.

The current strategies in the National Development Agenda will be reviewed to suit the 15-year vision document while the short-term strategies will help convert longer-term vision into implementable policy and action, the report said.

NITI Ayog will undertake a stock-taking exercise in 2019-20 to align the vision document's goals with the financial resources in view of the 14th finance commission's recommendations that will remain in force till 2020.

Incidentally, the next general election will also coincide the review, and make it consistent with the periodicity of the political mandate.

''A comprehensive new approach combining long-term vision with medium-term national agenda and short-term action plan is required to be adopted,'' the report quoted the source as saying.

NITI Aayog will also create a dashboard for reviewing and fixing annual outcome targets for all the major schemes, the source said.

Meanwhile, the centre has asked NITI Aayog to come out with a perspective plan for mitigating the effects of severe drought that has hit at least 11 states across the country.

NITI Aayog will propose short-term, medium term and long-term measures and a report is expected in a fortnight with the planning body getting into a mission mode.