I’ve prepared this article with excepts from the official press release of Niti Aayog. As a dedicated Think Tank of the Government, Niti Aayog will carry out the ‘directional’ role, strategically charting the future of the nation.
Functions of Niti Aayog as envisioned by the institution are : –
1. Cooperative and Competitive Federalism
- Primary platform for operationalizing Cooperative Federalism by enabling States to have active participation in the formulation of national policy, as well as achieving time-bound implementation of quantitative and qualitative targets.
- Replacement of the one-way flow of policy from centre-to-state. Systematic and structured interactions between the Union and State Governments, to better understand developmental issues and forge a consensus on strategies and implementation mechanisms.
- Cooperation would be further enhanced by the vibrancy of Competitive Federalism with the Centre competing with the States and vice versa, and the States competing with each other, in the joint pursuit of national development.
2. Shared National Agenda
- Evolve a shared vision of national development priorities and strategies, with the active involvement of States. This will provide the framework ‘national agenda’ for the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to implement.
3. State’s Best Friend at the Centre
- Support States in addressing their own challenges, building on strengths and comparative advantages. This will be through coordination with Ministries, championing their ideas at the centre, providing consultancy support and building capacity.
4. Decentralized Planning
- Restructure the planning process into a bottom-up model.
- Empower States, and guide them to further empower local governments
- Develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level, which are progressively aggregated up the higher levels of government.
5. Vision & Scenario Planning
- Design medium and long-term strategic frameworks across all sectors.
- Identify critical gaps and harness untapped potentialities.
- Constantly monitor for necessary mid-course recalibration and incorporate evolving trends and addressing emerging challenges.
- Fundamental transition from merely planning for where the nation’s money goes, to planning where we want the Nation to go.
6. Domain Strategies
- Build a repository of specialized domain expertise , imbibe good governance measures nationally and internationally to assist Central and State governments.
7. Network of Expertise
- Main-stream external ideas and expertise into government policies and programmes through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and other partners. This would entail being Government’s link to the outside world.
8. Knowledge and Innovation hub
- Be an accumulator as well as disseminator of research and best practices on good governance, through a Resource Centre which identifies, analyses, shares and facilitates replication of the same.
- Facilitate harmonization of actions across different layers of government through communication, coordination, collaboration and convergence amongst all stakeholders. The emphasis will be on bringing all together on an integrated and holistic approach to development.
10. Conflict Resolution
- Provide a platform for mutual resolution of inter-sectoral, inter-departmental, inter-state as well as centre-state issues.
- Facilitate consensus acceptable and beneficial to all, to bring about clarity and speed in execution.
11. Coordinating interface with the World
- Be the nodal point for strategically harnessing global expertise and resources from multilateral platforms , nations etc.
12. Internal Consultancy
- Offer an internal consultancy function to central and state governments on policy and program design , specialised skills such as structuring and executing Public Private Partnerships.
13. Capacity building
- Enable capacity building and technology up-gradation across government, benchmarking with latest global trends and providing managerial and technical knowhow.
14. Monitoring and Evaluation
- Monitor the implementation of policies and programmes, and evaluate their impact through tracking of performance and evaluations. This will help to identify weaknesses and bottlenecks for necessary course correction. It will also enable data-driven policy making encouraging greater efficiency as well as effectiveness.