States Need to 'Seriously Consider' Land, Labour Reforms: NITI

New Delhi
States Need to 'Seriously Consider' Land, Labour Reforms: NITI

NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya today held a consultation with states and asked them to "seriously consider" reforms in agriculture, land and labour markets.

He was interacting with state representatives here to boost coordination between the Aayog and the states on evolving role of NITI as well as to further the cause of cooperative federalism.

"Panagariya called upon the states to seriously consider reforms in agriculture and in the factor markets – land and labour. He assured them of all possible assistance from NITI Aayog in this endeavor," NITI Aayog said in a release.

Among others, NITI members Bibek Debroy and Ramesh Chandra, CEO Sindhushree Khullar, Chief Secretaries of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Mizoram were present.

Planning and Finance Secretaries of States and officials of NITI Aayog also participated in the meeting.

It also stressed that the 14th Finance Commission has significantly enhanced devolution of resources to states and this means more responsibility in exercising policy choices.

The release further said that taking the spirit of cooperative federalism forward, NITI Aayog has been regularly engaging with states, particularly during the meetings of the sub-group of chief ministers.

"However, a need was felt for a broad based consultation on the states' expectation of the role NITI should play in the future," said the release.

In the meeting, three broad thematic areas that were taken up for discussion include role of NITI Aayog to foster cooperative federalism; rationalisation of CSS and its implications for the states and challenges in the budgeting exercise for the 015-16 and planning for FY 2016-17.

Panagariya underlined the need to gradually shift our focus from Planning to Policy so as to influence behaviors of actors - both public and private in view of the changed economic scenario with major share of investments coming from the private sector.

Many of the Indian states have now achieved sizes of economy that are larger than many countries. Hence, they need much greater interaction not only nationally but also with international players, Panagariya said.

The states were broadly in agreement with the reduced role of NITI in allocative decisions and desired that the Aayog should play role of a knowledge organisation, it added.

It was also deliberated that NITI should play the role of documenting and disseminating the best practices of states so that the national development effort can receive a fillip.

"It should concentrate on longer term strategic issues and also act as an advocate for the states and also play a coordination role vis-a-vis the central ministries."

Khullar stressed that in the short time since existence, NITI has done a remarkable job in nudging the states toward consensus on contentious issues, but it is stil a very much a work in progress.

She hoped that the engagements with states would deepen further with the efflux of time.

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