Odisha likely to revive ‘dormant’ planning board

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government is mulling to restructure the State Planning Board which has so far remained ‘dormant’ in the past several years. Sources said that restructuring of the planning board is likely to be on the lines of the Niti Aayog.

Though it is still unclear what will be the revised structure of the planning board, it is believed that emphasis will be laid on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s 5Ts (Transparency, Technology, Transparency, Team work, Time and Transformation) mantra.

It is pertinent to mention here that chairpersons of district planning committees were recently appointed, but the posts of deputy chairperson, advisor, special secretary and members of the State planning board are yet to be filled up.

Speculations are now rife that such vacancies in the State planning board have not been filled up owing to the proposed plans for its reconstitution. It is also believed that if the reconstitution happens, there is a possibility that there would either be a state board or an aayog along with some committees for agriculture, industries, infrastructure and women empowerment.

Planning and Convergence minister, Padmanabh Behera said, “Though lot of welfare measures have been taken, Odisha government feels the need of making the board more vibrant.”

“If the State government wants to set up sub-committees with focus on its priority sectors, then government should accept the recommendations of the experts on such priority sectors as it will be more effective than the recommendations made by the concerned department,” said RN Das, former advisor of the State planning board.

Currently the State planning board is dormant which was evident from the statements of the concerned minister in Odisha Assembly. Though deputy chairpersons and members have been appointed from time to time, the meeting of the board has not been held even once in the last 12 years. The opposition parties targeted Odisha government alleging that the State planning board has turned out to be a means of rehabilitation of political leaders.

“The leaders, who could not be MLAs, ministers, MPs, are rehabilitated by being offered posts in the planning board and CM Naveen Patnaik believes in such policy. No matter how much you try or bring amendments, the planning board will be misused,” said Congress MLA Sura Routray.

BJP general secretary, Prithviraj Harichandan said, “If State planning board is reconstituted only by taking political leaders, it will turn out to be a mere rehabilitation scheme.”

Harichandan further stated that if the State planning board is reconstituted by taking eminent people, then it will cater to development and it will also help government to prove that it is committed towards its goals.