All About NITI Aayog: Formation, Structure, and Key Initiatives

Introduction to NITI Aayog India needed a new surge of thoughts to grow as an economically strong nation. The formation of NITI Aayog was proposed by bringing a resolution to the Union Cabinet and…

Introduction to NITI Aayog

India needed a new surge of thoughts to grow as an economically strong nation. The formation of NITI Aayog was proposed by bringing a resolution to the Union Cabinet and came into effect on 16 February 2015 via a notification of the Cabinet Secretariat. NITI Aayog was launched as the replacement of the Planning Commission, the previous agency of the Government of India established in 1950 to supervise the social and economic development of the country. The Prime Minister of India is the chairman of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, comprising representatives from all the states and union territory ministers. 

This article discusses all about NITI Aayog, its functions, and how NITI Aayog has transformed India so far. 

What is NITI Aayog?

NITI Aayog was formed on January 1, 2015, to better serve the needs and aspirations of people, emphasising the idea of Maximum Governance and Minimum Government. The full form of NITI Aayog is the National Institution for Transforming India. It is the premier policy think tank of the Indian government, providing inputs for different programmes and policies. NITI Aayog gives directional and strategic people-driven input to central, state and union territory governments with a shared vision of National priorities and shapes the country's economic growth. 

The NITI Aayog is important in constructing strong states that will help create a dynamic and strong nation. The key objective of NITI Aayog is to give a directional approach to India and advance research and innovation. 

Formation of NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog was formed with the primary focus on the deliverables and outcomes to help India emerge as the major economy in the world. The NITI Aayog creation is majorly divided into two hubs:

Team India Hub: Encourages the participation of Indian States with the Central Government.

Knowledge and Innovation Hub: Evolve and promote the Think Tank capabilities of India. 

The evolution of NITI Aayog encourages people's participation in the equal growth and development of the administration and the country. This could only be possible with the institutional changes in administration and effective strategy shift. The NITI Aayog worked as a revolutionary institution fostering to provide a common platform for all states to get together and work cooperatively. 

NITI Aayog Structure

The composition of the NITI Aayog comprises the full-time and part-time participation of the following

NITI Aayog Chairman/ Chairperson: The Prime Minister of India

NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman/ Chairperson: Appointed by the Prime Minister

Governing Council: Chief ministers of each state and Lt. Governors of Union Territories of India.

Regional Council: to address particular issues affecting more than one state. The regional council is summoned by the chairperson, consisting of chief ministers of states and Lt. Governors of India. The chairperson or his/her nomination leads the council.

Special Invitees: The nomination of the chairperson consisting of eminent experts in an area and specialists with a particular domain knowledge.

The full-time organizational framework includes

  1. Chairperson
  2. Vice-Chairperson
  3. Full-time members 
  4. Part-time members; max 2 members from the foremost universities, innovative organizations, and research organizations on a rotational basis.
  5. Ex Officio Members: max 4 members of the Council of Ministers, nominated by the Chairperson.
  6. Chief Executive Officer: appointed by the Prime Minister of India for a fixed tenure. The CEO holds the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.

7 Pillars of Effective Governance by NITI Aayog

The NITI Aayog forms the required strategies and follows the below-mentioned effective governance principles.

Pro-People Orientation: to satisfy societal and individual aspirations while planning societal strategies or initiatives.

Proactiveness: Forecasting and responding to citizens’ needs in the first place. 

Citizen Participation: To encourage democracy within the nation and increase the participation of every citizen while formulating strategies.

Equality: Create an open platform for everyone for every opportunity, especially our youth, due to their innovative mindset.

Inclusivity: Respect and give equal opportunities to all people irrespective of caste, creed, and gender.

Empowering: Especially women in all aspects of life.

Transparency: Making the government visible and responsive to the people.

Objectives of NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog works with the following key objectives

  • To foster the active participation of states in National development priorities and strategies. 
  • To encourage structured cooperative initiatives from all the states representatives and recognise that strong States make a strong Nation. 
  • To develop the strategies right from the village level and progressively instil them at the higher level of government. 
  • To ensure that the concept of national security is incorporated into economic strategies and policies formed.
  • To provide attention to those sections of the society who could more efficiently benefit from the national economic progress.
  • Timely design of the strategic and long-term policies, programmes, and initiatives prioritising national development. Monitor and evaluate the progress. Make the innovative improvements or corrections needed in the current or upcoming programmes. 
  • Recognize and encourage partnerships between like-minded think tanks and other educational institutions.
  • To create a collaborative community of national and international experts and other partners.
  • To focus on technology upgradation and ensure the maximum capacity while implementing an initiative. 
  • To emphasise the other important activities focusing on the national development agenda and the above objectives. 

Features of NITI Aayog

As the dominant statutory body for developing strategic policies and initiatives, NITI Aayog contains an efficient state-of-the-art resource centre with the necessary human skills and technological upgradation that enable it to act actively to deal with unforeseen issues. 

The following departments are the key to the successful implementation:

  • An attached office, Development Monitoring and Evaluation Organisation (DMEO),
  • An autonomous body, National Institute of Labour Economics Research and Development (NILERD)
  • A flagship initiative, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

All the departments work cohesively to successfully plan and implement the policies and initiatives, keeping the development of people and Nation at the forefront. The activities of NITI Aayog can be divided into the following four sections:

  1. Policy and Programme Framework
  2. Cooperative and Competitive Federalism
  3. Monitoring and Evaluation
  4. Think Tank and Knowledge and Innovation Hub

The following are the primary features of NITI Aayog:

  • A platform for the resolution of state and national issues.
  • Ease up the access to and sharing of information.
  • Maximum governance across the public and private sectors.
  • Formulate the policies from the village level and incorporate them progressively at the higher levels of government.
  • Build a central governing body with the equal participation of all the states and union territories. 
  • Encourage partnerships between national and international like-minded Think Tanks.

Various Verticals of NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog doesn’t work alone, but some supportive bodies or verticals ensure the organisation's adequate working. NITI Aayog has the following verticals 

  • Administration and Support Units,
  • Agriculture and Allied Sectors,
  • Communication and Social Media Cell,
  • Data Management and Analysis and Frontier Technologies
  • Economics and Finance Cell
  • Education
  • Governance and Research
  • Governing Council Secretariat and Coordination
  • Industry-I
  • Industry-II
  • Infrastructure-Connectivity
  • Infrastructure-Energy
  • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Natural Resources and Environment, and Island Development
  • Project Appraisal and Management Division
  • Public–Private Partnership
  • Rural Development
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Justice and Empowerment, and Voluntary Action Cell
  • Social Sector-I (Skill Development, Labour and Employment, and Urban Development)
  • Social Sector-II (Health and Nutrition, and Women and Child Development)
  • State Finances and Coordination
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Water and Land Resources

Cells Under NITI Aayog

The following cells are present in the organisational formation of the NITI Aayog.

  • Circular Economy Cell
  • Communication
  • Library
  • North East Forum
  • Voluntary Action Cell

Mission of NITI Aayog

Below mentioned is the mission launched by NITI Aayog for the sustainable growth of the states and nation. 

Aspirational Districts Programmes: Launched in January 2018 to transform the 112 most under-developed districts. The programmes ensure inclusive growth of all with the maxim of– “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas”.

Mission LiFE: To develop simple acts in their daily lives contributing to climate change. 

State Support Mission: An umbrella initiative for every state to recognize its strength, define its objectives, and develop strategies to achieve the same. 

Total Meetings Held By NITI Aayog

By now, the autonomous body has conducted 8 meetings with a shared vision of national priorities and strategies.

First Meeting

8 February 2015

Second Meeting

15 July 2015

Third Meeting

23 April 2017

Fourth Meeting

17 June 2018

Fifth Meeting

15 June 2019

Sixth Meeting

20 February 2021

Seventh Meeting

7 August 2022

Eight Meeting

27 May 2023

How NITI Aayog Has Transformed Planning in India?

The inception of NITI Aayog in January 2015 has changed the picture of the fundamental nature of planning in India. The transformation can be highlighted as

Policy Making Revolution: NITI Aayog provides relevant technical advice to the States and Centre while planning and designing strategic and long-term policies for the Government of India. 

Bottom-up Approach: NITI Aayog focuses on achieving sustainable development goals in its policy-making process using a bottom-up approach. While NITI Aayog ensures that all the people living in the most rural or urban areas benefit from the policies and initiatives launched. 

Efficient Coordination Among Departments: NITI Aayog offers a central platform to resolve inter-sector and inter-departmental issues to speed up the implementation and development. 

Advanced Technology: NITI Aayog has taken the initiative to develop a nationwide blockchain network named ‘IndiaChain’.

Maximum Digitization: NITI Aayog focuses on technological upgradation and extending the capacity for implementing plans and initiatives. 

Strong Management: NITI Aayog introduced the required technical training and occupations to solve the underlying issues in India using technology.

3 Major Plans/ Documents Launched by NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog has launched 3 documents highlighting the three major roadmaps:

  1. Vision: A long-term visionary plan that comprises and highlights the overall goals and objectives of the country for the next 15 years. 
  2. Strategies: A 7-year plan divides the vision into two parts and lays down the roadmap of development for the next 7 years. 
  3. Action Agenda: Further divides the strategies into two parts and states the tasks and targets to be achieved in the next 3 years. 

Success of NITI Aayog 

After the NITI Aayog replaced the Planning Commission in 2015, it launched initiatives and programmes that have shown immense success. Within a few years, the success of NITI Aayog can be easily understood as

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: NITI Aayog focuses on innovation and increasing entrepreneurial collaboration with national and international experts.

Cooperative Federalism: Working with the states and national governments, the NITI Aayog keeps the national agenda at the centre of all the strategies and initiatives formation. 

Agricultural Development: Food being the first necessity of every person, agricultural development becomes the major area to focus on and requires most of the development. The very first meeting of the governing council held on 8 February 2015, discussed the major initiatives for agricultural development.

Digitization: NITI Aayog recognized that to walk along with the changing landscape of technology, digitization in India was the first need. NITI Aayog has taken the necessary steps to improvise and expand the digital network across all the states and districts in India. 

Global Recognition: NITI Aayog is developing initiatives and opportunities for Indian and international entrepreneurs. Also, India invests in foreign goods to increase its share in foreign currency, ultimately strengthening the Indian currency.   

Major Initiatives Taken by NITI Aayog

Mentioned are the initiatives and programmes launched by the NITI Aayog.

  • Aspirational District Programme
  • SDG India Index
  • SATH Project
  • Composite Water Management Index 
  • Health Index
  • Atal Innovation Mission
  • School Education Quality Index
  • Agriculture Marketing And Farmer Friendly Reform Index
  • District Hospital Index
  • Good Governance Index
  • Strategy for New India at 75
  • India Innovation Index
  • Women Transforming India Awards
  • Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP)
  • e-AMRIT Portal
  • 'Methanol Economy' programme

Final Words

NITI Aayog replaced the Planning Commission to facilitate and empower the developmental requirements of good governance. NITI Aayog encourages the maximum participation of the states and union territories in formulating programmes and initiatives that support the overall growth and development of the nation. NITI Aayog works with the most transparency and takes every step to be the most responsive to the people of India. All the part-time or permanent members of the governing council only focus on the delivery, outcome, and accountability. 

FAQs Related to NITI Aayog

Question: What kind of body is NITI Aayog?
Answer: The NITI Aayog is a non-constitutional and non-statutory executive body of the Indian government formed in January 2015. 

Question: How is the NITI Aayog different from the Planning Commission?
Answer: The Planning Commission, formed in March 1950, was designed to make five-year plans in India. In January 2015, the NITI Aayog replaced the planning commission and formed an advisory body or think-tank of the Indian government at the central level. 

Question: What is NITI Aayog full form?
Answer: The full form of NITI Aayog is the National Institution for Transforming India. The Prime Minister of India heads the NITI Aayog. 

Question: Who is the CEO or Chairman of NITI AAayog?
Answer: The Prime Minister of India is the head or chairman of the NITI Aayog. Mr Naredra Damodar Das Modi is the current CEO of the NITI Aayog. 

Question: What are the seven pillars of the NITI Aayog?
Answer: The seven pillars of NITI Aayog are

  • Pro-activity, 
  • Pro-people, 
  • Participation, 
  • Empowering, 
  • Inclusivity, 
  • Equality, and 
  • Transparency. 

Question: What are the 5 elements of Sustainable Development Goals launched by NITI Aayog?
Answer: The Sustainable Development Goals is a programme launched by NITI Aayog targeting the actions over the next 15 years. The 5 elements where the most development is required are: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.

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