Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A New Planning Body for India

The government has asked for suggestions from the public on how to replace the Planning Commission. Herewith my two paise-worth:
 I suggest the government replace the Planning Commission with an open-ended national roster of experts from which it can select panels of 7 to undertake specific time-bound tasks.
 The Roster should include individuals with a wide range of interests and capacities, ranging from businesspeople, lawyers and scientists to economists, political scientists and journalists. State governments should be able to nominate experts to the roster. There should also be a facility for qualified students to apply for internships.
The tasks assigned to panels should be in two generic categories:
  •  Producing background documents that set out issues with clarity;
  • Consulting stakeholders on the conclusions of the documents above and arriving at agreed recommendations for action.
The panels should have short deadlines for completion of work.
To facilitate consideration by parliamentary and assembly committees the reports should normally be published on the Web once the consultative work is done.
 The Saptarishi Program (as I suggest this effort be named in honor of the earliest guides of Indian civilization), should have a secretariat capable of fielding up to 50 or 60 7-member teams at  a time and it should issue a monthly webzine reporting on developments.
 The Prime Minister should present an annual overview and progress report in parliament.

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