Context: A suitable intermediary
- Since its inception in 2015, NITI Aayog has been instrumental in promoting competitive and cooperative federalism.
- NITI Aayog organises the annual meeting of the Governing Council (GC) under the leadership of the PM, which brings together chief ministers/Lieutenant-governors of the states/UTs to discuss inter-sectoral, inter-departmental and federal issues to accelerate the implementation of the National Development Agenda.
What needs to be done?
Importance of States
- As custodians of regional policy and prime executors of development programmes, states are the Indian economy’s growth drivers.
- NITI Aayog must ensure productive engagement and dialogue with the states to develop a growth roadmap.
Socio-economic cohesion within the country
- To achieve greater socio-economic cohesion within the country, achieving income convergence across states must be a policy priority.
- Over the last two decades, half of India’s GDP has been contributed by just a handful of states.
- NITI Aayog needs to engender discourse to address this crucial issue through improved governance structures, adequate financial development and infrastructure.
Monitoring Social indicators
- NITI Aayog has developed several social sector indices and dashboards for effectively tracking and monitoring outcomes.
- Regular monitoring and performance evaluation will incentivise states to achieve better social outcomes.
Addressing inter-state and inter-district variations
- The Prime Minister launched the Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) to address these challenges through data-driven, outcome-based governance.
- NITI Aayog must focus on guiding state governments in replicating the ADP template at the block level and for districts not categorised as aspirational.
- There is a need to tap into resources other than government budgets, such as monetising land assets and engaging private capital in service delivery.
- Efforts to empower and make large urban local bodies atmanirbhar are the needs of the hour.
Challenge of climate change
- India aspires to grow fast but is now subject to a carbon constraint.
- At the state level, it is crucial to frame the decarbonisation challenge in the context of the states’ urgent need to create millions of new jobs, increase incomes and improve public health.
- NITI Aayog is well-positioned to generate such a conversation and guide states to catalyse climate action.
Act as an intermediary
- NITI Aayog must act as an intermediary between the Centre and states to ensure cross-sharing of these best practices, insights and perspectives.
Thus establishing open borders within the country for an open labour market; facilitating effective implementation of national programmes that promote job creation, improve the quality of the labour force and enhance ease of doing business; ensuring high-quality public expenditure, particularly capital expenditure; and ensuring policy predictability at the state level, NITI Aayog along with boosting cooperative federalism can contribute enormously to India’s growth and development.
Source: Indian Express