New Delhi: Abandoning the ancient concept of five-year plans that India has been following since 1951, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has decided to come up with a 15-year vision document in tandem with global trends and economic growth.

The news was first reported by The Economic Times and The Times of India.

The long-term vision document will formulate various ways through which India can achieve its broader social objectives to meet the UNDP’s 2030 sustainable goals and will be a roadmap on transformation required in the planning system to sync it with the 14th Finance Commission recommendations. The 14th Finance Commission favoured giving states more untied funds along with greater fiscal responsibility in implementing centrally-sponsored schemes. To this effect, it increased the states’ share in central taxes from 32% to 42%.

Interestingly, the move comes just three months after finance minister Arun Jaitley hinted in his budget speech that the government will abandon the plan and non-plan distinction from 2017-18, indicating that the five-year plan process will end with the 12th five-year plan.

A senior official from the NITI Aayog, who did not want to be named, said that the first 15-year vision document will come into effect from 2017-18, along with a seven-year National Development Agenda which will lay down the schemes, programmes and strategies to achieve the long-term vision. The Aayog will also create a dashboard for monitoring, evaluation and review. “We will fix outcome targets for all major schemes, especially in infrastructure and social sectors."

Interestingly, the 15-year vision document will also include internal security and defence that have not been a part of five-year plans. The official quoted above added that the prime minister has already approved it and a draft is expected to be submitted to him by May-end.

N.C. Saxena, former member of the planning commission, said the government had to prepare a 15-year agenda to meet sustainable development goals by 2030.

“India has to achieve 16 goals which has 169 sub-targets by 2030. These are not only sustainable goals but have a larger focus. So there has to be a vision or plan in place to see how these targets will be met and how much resources will be required to achieve this. So to a certain extent, there is a mandatory part to the NITI Aayog’s 15-year development plan," he said.

“On the other hand, since the planning commission was abolished, there was no longer any need for 5-year plans given that every department finalizes its budget and the finance ministry takes a final call on the allocations required," he added.

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