• The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on Jan. 1, 2015 and replaced the Planning Commission.
  • NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of Government of India to bring States to act together in national interest, and thereby fosters Cooperative Federalism. NITI Aayog
  • Neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body. In other
    words, it is a non-constitutional or extra-constitutional body (i.e., not created by the Constitution) and a non-statutory body (not created by an Act of the Parliament)

NITI Aayog Hubs

  1. Team India Hub acts as interface between States and Centre.
  2. Knowledge and Innovation Hub builds the think-tank acumen of NITI Aayog.


  • Chairperson: Prime Minister
  • Governing Council: Chief Ministers of all states and Lt. Governors of Union Territories.
  • Regional Council: To address specific regional issues, Comprising Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors Chaired by Prime Minister or his nominee.
  • Special Invitees: Experts, Specialists with domain knowledge nominated by Prime-minister.

Full Time Organizational Framework:

    • Vice-Chairperson: To be appointed by Prime-Minister (Rank of Cabinet Minister)
    • Members: Full Time (Rank of Minster of State)
    • Part Time Members: Maximum 02 (Leading Universities
    • Ex-Officio membership: Maximum four from Union council of ministers to be nominated by Prime minister.
    • Chief Executive Officer: Appointed by Prime-minister for a fixed tenure, in rank of Secretary to Government of India.
    • Secretariat: As deemed necessary

Specialized Wings

  • Research Wing
  • Consultancy Wing
  • Team India Wing


  • evolve a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors, and strategies
  • foster cooperative federalism
  • develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level
  • interests of national security are incorporated in economic strategy and policy.
  • pay special attention to the sections of our society
  • design strategic and long-term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives
  • provide advice and encourage partnerships between key stakeholders and national and international like-minded Think tanks
  • create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts
  • offer a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter departmental issues
  • maintain a state-of-the-art Resource Centre
  • actively monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes and initiatives
  • focus on technology upgradation and capacity building
  • execution of the national development agenda

The various functions performed by the NITI Aayog can be divided into four main heads:

  • Design policy and programme framework.
  • Foster co-operative federalism.
  • Monitoring and evaluation.
  • Think-tank, and Knowledge and Innovation Hub.

Guiding Principles

  • Antyodaya, Inclusion, Village, Demographic dividend, People’s Participation, Governance, Sustainability

Pillars of effective governance:

(i) Pro-people agenda that fulfils the aspirations of the society as
well as individuals.

(ii) Pro-active in anticipating and responding to citizen needs.

(iii) Participative, by involvement of citizens.

(iv) Empowering women in all aspects.

(v) Inclusion of all groups with special attention to the SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities.

(vi) Equality of opportunity for the youth.

(vii) Transparency through the use of technology to make government visible and responsive

Cooperative Federalism

  • Actualize the important goal of cooperative federalism and to enable good governance
    • Joint focus on the National Development Agenda by the Centre and the States
    • Advocacy of State perspectives with Central Ministries

Various manifestations of Cooperative Federalism in the working of the NITI Aayog:

  • Meetings of Governing Council
  • Sub-groups of Chief Ministers on different subjects
  • Task Forces on specific subjects
  • NITI Forum for North East
  • Sustainable Development in the Indian Himalayan Region
  • Development Support Services to States
  • Sustainable Action For Transforming Human Capital (SATH)


  • the move is just a “fluff” and mere “gimmickry”.
  • pave the way for discrimination, as “corporates will call the shots” in policy-making in the country.
  • aniti aur durniti (no policy and bad policy)
  • just a change of nomenclature and gimmickry does not serve any purpose. 
  • After all, what was the Planning Commission doing? It used to plan policy. So by changing the nomenclature from Planning Commission to NITI Aayog what is the message
  • It’s not a question of fighting a war, it’s a matter of principle. 
  • The government would like to have a full-market economy (which is) totally unregulated

Attached Offices

  1. National Institute of Labour Economics Research and Development
  • Formerly Institute of Applied Manpower Research established in 1962 under the Societies Registration Act of 1860)
  • advance knowledge about the nature, characteristics and utilization of human resources through research, education and training, consultancy
  • mainly funded by grants-in-aid from the NITI Aayog
  • develop an institutional framework capable of sustaining and steering a systematic applied human resource
  1. Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office
  • established by the Government in 2015 by merging the erstwhile Programme EvaluationOrganization and the Independent Evaluation Office
  • provided withseparate budgetary allocations and manpower in addition tocomplete functional autonomy
  • Monitor the implementation of Government programmes
  • Monitor the implementation and progress of SDGs
  • Promote the spirit of Cooperative Federalism
  • Conduct evaluation of the Government programmes
  • Help Ministries in designing TORs for evaluation studies


  • The erstwhile Planning Commission was established in March 1950 by an executive resolution of the Government of India, (i.e., the Union Cabinet) on the recommendation of the Advisory Planning Board constituted in 1946, under the chairmanship of K.C. Neogi.
  • Thus, the erstwhile Planning Commission was neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body.
  • In India, it was the supreme organ of planning for social and economic development.


  • The functions of the erstwhile Planning Commission included the following:
  • To make an assessment of material, capital and human resources of the country, and investigate the possibilities of augmenting them.
  • To formulate a plan for the most effective and balanced utilisation of the country’s resources.
  • To determine priorities and to define the stages in which the plan should be carried out.
  • To indicate the factors that retard economic development.
  • To determine the nature of the machinery required for successful implementation of the plan in each stage.
  • To appraise, from time to time, the progress achieved in execution of the plan and to recommend necessary adjustments.
  • To make appropriate recommendations for facilitating the discharge of its duties, or on a matter referred to it for advice by Central or state governments.
  • The Allocation of Business Rules had assigned the following matters (in addition to the above) to the erstwhile Planning Commission:
  • Public Co-operation in National Development
  • Specific programmes for area development notified from time to time
  • Perspective Planning
  • Institute of Applied Manpower Research
  • Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)
  • All matters relating to National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA)
  • Earlier, the National Informatics Centre was also under the erstwhile Planning Commission. Later, it was brought under the Ministry of Information Technology.
  • It should be noted that the erstwhile Planning Commission was only a staff agency—an advisory body and had no executive responsibility.
  • It was not responsible for taking and implementing decisions. This responsibility rested with the Central and State Governments.


  • The following points can be noted in context of the composition (membership) of the erstwhile Planning Commission:
  • The Prime Minister of India was the chairman of the commission. He presided over the meetings of the commission.
  • The commission had a deputy chairman. He was the de facto executive head (i.e., full-time functional head) of the commission. He was responsible for the formulation and submission of the draft of Five-Year Plan to the Central cabinet. He was appointed by the Central cabinet for a fixed tenure and enjoyed the rank of a Cabinet Minister. Though he was not a member of cabinet, he was invited to attend all its meetings (without a right to vote).
  • Some Central Ministers were appointed as part-time members of the commission. In any case, the finance minister and planning minister were the ex-officio (by virtue of) members of the commission.
  • The commission had four to seven full-time expert members. They enjoyed the rank of a minister of state.
  • The commission had a member-secretary. He was usually a senior member of IAS. The state governments were not represented in the commission in any way. Thus, the erstwhile Planning Commission was wholly a Centre-constituted body.

How is NITI Aayog different from Planning Commission?

  • Both NITI Aayog and Planning Commission are advisory in naturebut the major difference is that NITI Aayog does not allocate any financial resources to states.
  • States had limited functions in planning commission era but NITI Aayog has all the chief ministers of states and administrators of UTs as part of its governing council.
  • The top to down approach followed by planning commission is reversed in NITI Aayog because it formulates plans from village level to higher level progressively.
  • Planning commission was vested with forming the annual central plans but NITI Aayog has responsibility of evaluating the implementation of those plans.

National Development Council

  • established in August 1952 by an executive resolution of the Government of India on the recommendation of the First Five Year Plan (draft outline).
  • Like the erstwhile Planning Commission. It is neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body.
  • Abolished on 1st of January, 2016 and transferred its powers to the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog.


  • The NDC is composed of the following members.
  • The Prime Minister of India (as its chairman/head).
  • All Union Cabinet Ministers (since 1967).
  • The Chief Ministers of all the states.
  • The Chief Ministers/administrators of all union territories.
  • Members of the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog).
  • The secretary of the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) acts as the secretary to the NDC.
  • It (NDC) is also provided with administrative and other assistance for its work by the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog).


  • The NDC was established with the following objectives.
  • To secure cooperation of states in the execution of the Plan.
  • To strengthen and mobilize the efforts and resources of the nation in support of the Plan.
  • To promote common economic policies in all vital spheres.
  • To ensure balanced and rapid development of all parts of the country.


  • To realise the above objectives, the NDC is assigned with the following functions:
  • To prescribe guidelines for preparation of the national Plan.
  • To consider the national Plan as prepared by the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog).
  • To make an assessment of the resources required for implementing the Plan and to suggest measures for augmenting them.
  • To consider important questions of social and economic policy affecting national development.
  • To review the working of the national Plan from time to time.
  • To recommend measures for achievement of the aims and targets set out in the national Plan.
  • The Draft Five-Year Plan prepared by the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) is first submitted to the Union Cabinet. After its approval, it is placed before the NDC, for its acceptance. Then, the Plan is presented to the Parliament. With its approval, it emerges as the official Plan and published in the official gazette.
  • Therefore, the NDC is the highest body, below the Parliament, responsible for policy matters with regard to planning for social and economic development.
  • However, it is listed as an advisory body to the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) and its recommendations are not binding.
  • It makes its recommendations to the Central and state governments and should meet at least twice every year.

Initiatives /Reforms and Programmes of NITI Aayog

  • ‘Healthy States, Progressive India’ Report
  • Composite Water Management Index
  • ‘SDG India Index
  • Digital Transformation Index
  • Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH)
  • Transforming of 115 identified Aspirational Districts
  • Statelevel Human Development Reports
  • Three Year National Action Agenda and the Strategy for New India @75
  • NITI Forum for North East
  • Implementation and Monitoring Progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Champions of Change
  • Atal Innovation Mission (Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs))
  • Atal Incubation Centres (AIC)
  • Atal New India Challenges (ANICs)
  • Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017: Women First: Prosperity for All
  • Women Entrepreneurship Platform
  • Model Act on Agricultural Land Leasing, 2017
  • Reforms of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act
  • Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index
  • Promoting Digital India
  • Adoption of frontier technologies in governance (Artificial Intelligence / Blockchain)
  • Methanol Economy
  • Roadmap for ‘Make in India’ in Body Armour
  • Vision Document, Strategy & Action Agenda beyond 12thFive Year Plan
  • Model Land Leasing Law
  • Reforming Medical Education
  • Task Force on Elimination of Poverty in India
  • Transforming India Lecture Series
  • India VNR Report-2020 (SDG)

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