The National Institution for Transforming India, also known as the NITI Aayog, was formed by a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1, 2015. NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs. While formulating strategic and long-term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides significant technical advice to both Centre and the States.
Digital Payments Movement
- The Government has prepared an action plan on advocacy, awareness and co-ordination of their handholding efforts among general public, micro-enterprises and other stakeholders for which NITI Aayog had organised presentations or interactions for training and capacity building of various Ministries/Departments of Government of India, representatives of State/UTs, Trade and Industry Bodies as well as all other concerned stakeholders.
- A committee of Chief Ministers was constituted by NITI Aayog on Digital Payment on 30th November 2016, Chandrababu Naidu, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh as the convener to promote transparency, financial inclusion and a healthy financial ecosystem nationwide which submitted its interim report to Prime Minister in January 2017.
- The state/UTs will be incentivised with Rs. 50 crore as a Central assistance for the promotion of digital transactions which is to be used in districts for undertaking Information, Education and Communication activities to bring 5 crore Jan Dhan accounts to a digital platform.
- To promote the use of digital payments through BHIM App, the Government has started the Cashback and referral bonus schemes which were launched by the Prime Minister on 14th April 2017.
- The incentive schemes such as Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana were also launched by NITI Aayog to promote digital payments across all sections of society in which over 16 lakh consumers and merchants have won Rs. 256 crore under these two schemes.
- From December 25, 2016, till April 14, 2017, the Digi Dhan Melas were also been organised for 100 days in 100 cities.
- In a view to strengthening the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, the Government has set up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under NITI Aayog that spur innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general. Following major schemes were rolled out in 2016-17 under Atal Innovation Scheme (AIM):
- Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs): The Atal Innovation Scheme (AIM) is working to establish 500 ATLs in schools across India, where students can design and make small prototypes based on the rapid prototyping technologies to solve challenges they see around them.
- Atal Incubation Centres (AICs): The AICs will help start-ups to expand quicker and enable innovation-entrepreneurship, in core sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, energy, transport, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, etc for which Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) will provide financial support of Rs.10 crore and capacity building for setting up of such AICs.
Indices Measuring States’ Performance in Health, Education and Water Management
- In a view to the Prime Minister’s focus on outcomes, NITI Aayog has developed indices measuring State’s performance in Health, Education and Water Management.
- The indices will measure incremental annual performances in critical social sectors like health, education and water with a view to nudge the states into challenging with each other for better outcomes.
- The indices will also help states to share the best practices and innovation in order to achieve gain from each other which is an example of competitive and cooperative federalism.
Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes
- The sub-group has provided its recommend on the rationalization of centrally sponsored schemes and a Cabinet note was prepared by NITI Aayog which also has been approved by the Cabinet.
- The sub-group has recommended several decisions which led to the rationalisation of the existing CSSs into 28 umbrella schemes.
Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
- This sub-group on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was constituted on 9th March 2015 which has submitted its report to the Prime Minister in October 2015.
- The most of the recommendations suggested by this sub-group have been accepted.
Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Skill Development
- The sub-group on Skill Development was constituted on 9th March 2015, the report of which was submitted to the Prime Minister on 31st December 2015.
- The key recommendations of the sub-group have been approved by the Prime Minister and already are in practice by the Ministry of Skill Development.
Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India
- The Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India was constituted on 16th March, 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, the report which was submitted to the Prime Minister on 11th July 2016.
- The primary focus of the task force was to find out the issues involved in the measurement of poverty and the list of strategies to combat the poverty.
- The task force was unable to develop its consensus in favour of either the Tendulkar or a higher poverty line did not emerge.
- The task force concluded and suggested that there is a requirement of another high-level committee of country’s top experts which can analyse issues and suggest the best measure of poverty.
- The task force also suggested strategies combat poverty and it faster reduction through employment-intensive sustained rapid growth and effective implementation of anti-poverty programs.
Task Force on Agriculture Development
- The Task Force on Agricultural development was set up on 16th March 2015 under the Chairmanship of Dr Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.
- The Task Force has prepared an occasional paper entitled “Raising Agricultural Productivity and Making Farming Remunerative for Farmers” which is based on their work focusing on 5 critical areas of Indian Agriculture are:
- Raising Productivity
- Remunerative Prices to Farmers
- Land Leasing, Land Records & Land Titles
- Second Green Revolution-Focus on the Eastern States
- Responding to Farmers’ Distress
- The task force after getting all the required inputs from the states/UTs submitted its report on 31st May 2016.
- The task force has recommended significant policy measures to bring in reforms in the agriculture sector for the welfare of the farmers as well as enhancing their income.
Transforming India Lecture Series
- NITI Aayog as the premier think-tank of the Government views knowledge building & transfer as the enabler of real transformation in States and UTs.
- In a view to building knowledge systems for States and the Centre, NITI Aayog has launched the ‘NITI Lectures such as Transforming India’ series, with full assistance from the Prime Minister on 26th August 2016.
- NITI Aayog’s lecture series has the aim of addressing the top policy-making team of the Centre including the members of the Cabinet and several top bureaucrats of the country.
- The key aim of the lecture is to bring cutting edge ideas in development policy to policy makers and public, so as to promote the basis of the transformation of India into a prosperous modern economy in the world.
- The first lecture was delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the topic- “India and the Global Economy” followed by Bill Gates who delivered the second lecture in the series under the theme- 'Technology and Transformation' on November 16, 2016.
The Government’s effort to make efficient working and better implementation of policies for various sectors of the economy are quite laudable. The potential of agriculture sector in India, which requires Government’s most attention, will depend on the seriousness of the Government and how they will adopt the measures suggested by the constituted task force on agricultural development in India.
When it comes to the digital movement in India, it has been seen that there is a huge gap between the policies of the Government and commercial banks. The Idea of digital India cannot be achieved without developing consensus between the State and the commercial banks. Still, we are practising the old methods of measuring poverty which is unable to filter the actual poor in the country. For effective implementation of flagship programmes combating poverty in the country, a better measure of the poverty is need of the hour for which the Government should form a high-level expert committee on a primary basis for eliminating poverty and to find a measure of poverty.