Kerala opposes winding up of State Planning Board

Reports that Planning Board in Kerala will be wound up and replaced by Niti Aayog, have invited criticism from State Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal.

Balagopal on Tuesday said the State Planning Board has been a tested organisation and doing yeoman services.

“All know what the State Planning Board here has been doing as this is one which has been doing the planning for the years ahead for a period of five years. This body has to be there for the good of the state,” said Balagopal.

He was reacting to reports that the Centre has decided to wind up State Planning Boards in the coming years. In the first place, the Centre is getting ready to wind up such boards in about 10 states and the rest will follow suit.

Soon after coming to power in 2014, the BJP-led NDA government first wound up the Planning Commission and replaced it with Niti Aayog. Similar arrangements are being made for state boards too.

The chairman of the state boards is the Chief Minister of the state and in Kerala, the constitution of the board members is a big political exercise as academics attached to the respective political parties which is in power makes every effort to get into the board.

The vice-chairman of the Board is also one which is keenly contested as this is one which comes with the same status of a State Minister and when the Left is in power, one saw popular academics like I.S. Gulati, Prabhath Patnaik occupy the post, while when the Congress comes to power, this post is given to retired IAS officials.

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