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Plan panel's role need to be streamlined: Minister

Rao Inderjit Singh said that states should not take this institution as a hindrance

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Rao Inderjit Singh

In one of clearest indication of a new role of Planning Commission, Minister of State for Planning and Programme implementation Rao Inderjit Singh has said that the Commission’s part needs to be made more streamlined so that states should not take the institution as a hindrance.

“As far as the role of the Planning Commission is concerned, it needs to be made more streamlined and unwieldy,” Inderjit Singh said in an interview to Rajya Sabha Television.

The role and future of the Planning Commission has been a matter of intense debate ever since the Narendra Modi government took charge in May because of questions raised during the previous regime.

The debate has been further fuelled after Singh was appointed as a Minister with Independent Charge of Planning while there has been no clarity on the appointment of a regular deputy chairman or other members. The term of the Planning Commission is co-terminus with the government. The prime minister is the chairman of the commission.

In a recent interview, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley too had said Modi would make an announcement about the role of the Commission. On the issue of Rangarajan committee report on poverty, Inderjit Singh said the recommendations are still being considered by the government.

Rangarajan's report, which was submitted to the Planning Commission earlier this month, dismissed the Tendulkar Committee report on estimating poverty. It had said the number of poor in India was much higher in 2011-12 at 29.5 per cent of the population.

According to the report, persons spending below Rs 47 a day in cities would be considered poor, much above the Rs 33-per-day mark suggested by the Suresh Tendulkar Committee. According to the Rangarajan panel estimates, poverty stood at 38.2 per cent in 2009-10 and fell to 29.5 per cent in 2011-12. He said as of now the UID (Unique Identification Number) would continue to remain under the Planning commission while the NPR (National Population Register) would remain under the purview of Ministry of Home Affairs.

“Merger of these two records is not going to be an immediate exercise,” Singh said.

In reply to a question on foreign funding of NGOs, he said it needs to be re-looked at.

"We must ensure that there shouldn't be even an iota of intent to subvert the democracy and territorial integrity of India behind this kind of funding," the Minister said in his post on the social networking site.

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First Published: Wed, July 16 2014. 00:42 IST