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Over half of Plan panel staff to be farmed out

By Sanjeeb Mukherjee
September 02, 2014 10:35 IST
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The Parliament House in New DelhiThe think tank that will replace the 64-year-old Planning Commission might retain only 40 per cent of its 1,000 staff members.

The rest are expected to be sent back to their parent cadres. Among those set to return, decisions were pending on 250 for different reasons, officials in the know said.

These include staff posted in offices attached to the Planning Commission except the Unique Identification Authority of India.

Officials said though the government was in wide-ranging talks on the structure of the new body to replace the commission, it had a broad picture in mind.

The Union cabinet might soon consider a note on reorganisation of the commission.

According to the cabinet note, the majority of the 31 technical divisions of the Planning Commission will be attached to their respective ministries.

The technical divisions include those for agriculture, communications, information technology, health, family welfare and nutrition, and rural development.

These divisions, comprising subject experts, give inputs for five-year plans and also on matters raised by ministries. Officials said the note also indicates the state plan division, which frames annual plans of state governments, is expected to be wound up and moved to the finance ministry.

"All these proposals are expected to be considered by the Union cabinet soon," an official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden Independence Day speech had announced the abolition of the Planning Commission. An open forum was created on the government's website inviting suggestions on the new body that should replace it.

The government has also held a high-level consultative meeting on the issue.

Among those who participated were former ministers Yashwant Sinha and Y K Alagh, former Planning Commission members Bimal Jalan, Saumitra Chaudhuri, Bharatiya Janata Party leader M J Akbar, former Chief Economic Advisor Shankar N Acharya, Chairman of Business Standard Ltd T N Ninan, Chairman of the National Statistical Commission Pronab Sen, senior journalist TCA Srinivasa-Raghavan, former finance secretary Sumit Bose, economist Surjit Bhalla, chairman of the Centre for Policy Research Pratap Bhanu Mehta and ICRIER Director Rajat Kathuria.

Officials said experts at the meeting arrived at a broad consensus that allocation of plan funds should be handed over to the finance ministry as and when the new body was created.


New body to replace Plan panel might retain 40 per cent of existing staff State plan division of Plan Panel to be shut and moved to finance

Most of 31 technical divisions of the Plan panel to be aligned with concerned ministries

A Cabinet note on the proposed body might come up for discussion soon

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Sanjeeb Mukherjee
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