lannin in ndia         5.15
              had a high-level say55 in articulating the                         We may conclude that the PC had
              direction and the nature of the economic                       been able to unify not only the various
              policies. Through the first new function                       economic policies of the Centre, but
              it articulated, the future dimensions                          also those of the states with the help of
              of the economic reforms and through                            these two new functions. Earlier, there
              the second new function, it influenced                         had always been a lack of congruence
              the works of the various ministries—                           among the policies of the various central
              ultimately it seems as if the PC had been                      ministries and the ideas articulated by the
              able to emerge as the real think-tank of                       PC.
              development in the country.56
                                                                  An ePitAPh to the Pc
                   The PC had also been able to influence
              the economic policies of the states since           On January 1, 2015, the government formally
                                                                  abolished the PC by replacing it with the newly
              2002 in a great way. Though the PC did
                                                                  created body—the NITI Aayog. With this
              not make the state plans57 it was able to
                                                                  there ended an era in the economic history of
              influence the overall economic policies of
                                                                  independent India. Whether it was better to
              the states. It had been possible due to the
                                                                  revive the PC or abolish it has been a matter
              setting of ‘monitorable targets’ for states
                                                                  of much debate among the discipline experts,
              for the same development indicators/                politicians and the media. The debate, at times,
              areas as was been set for the Centre.58 The         had emotional tones, too. But the government
              states were liable for being monitored by           has its own wisdom behind the action (a detailed
              the PC concerning their performances                discussion on it has been included as the last sub-
              regarding these monitorable targets. This           topic of this Chapter titled ‘NITI Aayog’).
              way the Central Government had started                    As an ‘epitaph’ to the PC (may be an ‘ode’), it
              having its say over the state governments           will be quite relevant to have an eye on the report
              via the new functions of the PC.                    of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) on
      55. It is not without that the Government decides to        the former which was submitted to the Prime
          call in Montek Singh Ahluwalia, an economist of         Minister Office by late June 2014. As per it, the PC
          international repute to officiate as the eputy Chairman was created in response to the unique challenges
          of the PC. Every idea and opinion of Mr. Ahluwalia
          was understood by the coalition partners of the UPA     faced by a nascent democracy and a fledgling
          Government as a thing the Government is necessarily     economy—it conceived a ‘top-down approach’
          going to implement in future. One can imagine the       to planning that envisaged a dynamic Central
          increased role of the office of the C. here is always a
          hue and cry every time the Deputy Chairman articulates  government building up the economic and social
          an idea or opinion. Though the PC is chaired by the PM, order of weak states. The report called the PC in its
          it seems that the Deputy Chairman has started availing  current form and function a hindrance and not a
          enough autonomy to speak his mind.
                                                                  help to India’s development. It further added that
      56. Ibid.
      57. As per the original mandate, the PC was supposed
                                                                  it is not easy to reform such a large ossified body and
          to formulate the state plans also. By 1960s, with the   it would be better to replace it with a new body
          decision to follow the multi-level planning (MLP) in    that is needed to assist states in ideas, to provide
          the country the states started having their own state
          planning boards (SPBs).
                                                                  long-term thinking and to help cross-cutting
      58. In setting these targets the concerned states were      reforms. Some of the major recommendations of
          consulted approach of planning was followed.            IEO on the PC are as follows: