By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 25 Jul: The government has abolished the State Planning Commission in Uttarakhand. In place of the State Planning Commission, the Governor has now approved the formation of a ‘State Institute for Empowering and Transforming Uttarakhand’ (SETU) on the lines of NITI Aayog at the Centre. This is ostensibly to achieve the goal of Strong Uttarakhand @ 2025. It may be recalled that, recently, the cabinet had approved a proposal to replace the planning commission with SETU. Orders in this regard were issued today by Secretary R Meenakshi Sundaram.
SETU will work like a think tank in the policy and planning functions of the state government. Its chairperson will be the chief minister. Along with this, the Planning Minister will also be appointed as Deputy Chairperson with three advisors.
The Government has claimed that SETU will prepare an agenda to fulfil the social and personal aspirations of the citizens for development and welfare. It will work towards fulfilment of public needs and also ensure greater people’s participation in development. SETU will include representation from all groups and sections of society in order to achieve equality of opportunities for the youth of the State. The government has further claimed that SETU will also strive to achieve sustainable development while saving the environment and will ensure transparency by using technology to make government accountable. SETU will also lay emphasis on coordination, community participation and networking for efficient and effective utilisation of state resources, the government claims.
As per the organisational structure of the SETU that has been proposed, the chief minister will be the chairperson. If the CM also holds the portfolio of planning minister, then a minister for the post of deputy chairperson will be nominate. The CEO will be recruited based on qualifications as an eminent economist or a retired bureaucrat. All the ministers will be members of SETU. There will be three centres under SETU and each will have two counsellors. There will be an economic and employment advisor in Economic and Social Development Centres, public policy and good governance advisor in Public Policy and Good Governance Centre, and urban and semi-urban development advisor and statistics and data and monitoring and evaluation advisor in Evidence-Based Planning Centre.
All these advisors will advise the departments and guide them to amend the plans according to time and future based needs. Under the Centre for Evidence-Based Planning, consultants will provide technical guidance in analysis of available data, data eco system development, survey, etc. Apart from this, the Centre will also cooperate in monitoring and evaluation of other cells.
The responsibility of the Chairperson of SETU (who will be the sitting CM) will be expected to provide overall vision and guidance for the development of the state. The Deputy Chairperson is expected to guide the team Uttarakhand on the advice of Chief Economic Advisor and Chief Secretary. The Chief Secretary will act on the recommendations of SETU on various policy and governance matters and preparation of the state budget. Apart from this, the CEO will provide strategic and intellectual direction to SETU for the inclusive economic, social and sustainable development of Uttarakhand and also lead the day-to-day functioning of SETU.