The Budget 2017, presented by PM Narendra Modi-led central government, raised many questions from the states regarding the allocation of funds, but the sharpest criticism came from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The accusation by the CM is significant especially in the wake of the upcoming assembly elections in the state. According to Yadav, the BJP had not done enough for UP even though PM Modi’s constituency is in the state heartland, Varanasi. Meanwhile, they way the party used NITI Aayog to respond to Yadav’s comments will only aid in losing credibility. According to a news report, NITI Aayog replied to UP CM’s comments by presenting certain facts about fund allocations.
As long as one can remember, every budget session is followed by praises and criticism alike, but the common theme of complaints among states and certain economists are that the government at the centre does not do much for the states and poverty. But, are the states, including UP to blame for their own issues? A look at the data presented by NITI Aayog shows how Uttar Pradesh has not been able to use the wealth allocated even though it has increased since the last fiscal year. UP has neglected National Health Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, employment, PDS among other things. The data shows that UP under Yadav has not been able to pick up its GDP in the last five years.
Meanwhile, the NITI Aayog does not seem to have learnt its lessons from the erstwhile Planning Commission. It seems to be going by the old books by putting its emphasis on expenditure and projects, instead of putting emphasis on policy and institutions. The NITI Aayog is supposed to be a think tank to for the government, and be a departure from the infamous Indian bureaucracy. When the NITI Aayog replaced Yojana Aayog it was expected to find new avenues for better governance in a global environment, to accept novel challenges and rise above political disputation which the Yojana Aayog was known for, and the reason for its long overdue replacement.