Parameswaran Iyer, who helped in Swachh Bharat rollout, replaces Kant as Niti CEO
June 25, 2022

In News:

  • The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet recently approved the appointment of retired civil servant Parameswaran Iyer as the new CEO of Niti Aayog.
  • Iyer, who was instrumental in the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission, will succeed Amitabh Kant, whose six-year tenure is coming to an end.

What’s in today’s article:

  • NITI Aayog (About, composition, objectives, functions, performance, Promoting federalism, challenges, way ahead)

NITI Aayog:

  • National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on 1 January 2015.
    • It was constituted to replace the Planning Commission, which had been instituted in 1950.
    • This step was taken to better serve the needs and aspirations of the people.
  • It is the premier policy think tank of the Government of India, providing directional and policy inputs.
  • Apart from designing strategic and long-term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre, States and Union Territories.
  • An important evolutionary change, NITI Aayog acts as the quintessential platform to bring the States to act together in national interest and thereby fosters cooperative federalism.


  • Chairperson: The Prime Minister (PM) of India
  • Governing Council:
    • It is chaired by the PM and comprises Chief Ministers of all the States and Union Territories with legislatures and Lt Governors of other Union Territories.
    • It is constituted/reconstituted by the Cabinet Secretariat.
  • Full time organisational framework:
    • Vice Chairperson: Appointed by the PM, s/he enjoys the rank of a Cabinet Minister.
    • Full-Time Members: Enjoys the rank of a Minister of State.
    • Part-Time Members: Maximum 2.
    • Ex-Officio Members: Maximum of 4 members of the Union Council of Minister to be nominated by the PM.
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Appointed by the PM for a fixed tenure, s/he enjoys the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
  • Special Invitees: These will be experts with relevant domain knowledge to be nominated by the PM.


  • To foster cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives with the States on a continuous basis, recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.
  • To formulate credible plans at the village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government.
  • To ensure that the interests of national security are incorporated in economic strategy and policy.
  • To design strategic and long-term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives and monitor their progress and their efficacy.
  • To pay special attention to the sections of our society that may be at risk of not benefiting adequately from economic progress.
  • To focus on technology upgradation and capacity building for implementation of programmes and initiatives, etc.


Performance of NITI:

  • As an action Tank: By collecting fresh and new ideas and sharing them with the government at the Central and State level, it ensures that there is no inactivity in any organisation or institution.
  • Improving innovation: A commendable work has been done by the Atal Innovation Mission (established under NITI Aayog), which has helped in improving the innovation ecosystem in India.
  • Bringing greater responsibility in the system: Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO) has been established by the NITI Aayog, which collects performance data of various Ministries on a real-time basis.
    • These data are then used at the highest policy-making levels to improve performance and establish accountability.
  • Some important initiatives of NITI Aayog: Some of the initiatives like Ayushman Bharat, water conservation measures, approach towards artificial intelligence, have been conceptualised in NITI Aayog and respective Ministries are taking them forward.
    • POSHAAN ABHIYAAN by NITI Aayog is cutting across the silos within the government and helping in reducing malnourished children in India.

NITI Aayog: Promoting Federalism

  • Cooperative Federalism
    • NITI has provided a platform for direct issue-based interaction between States and Central Ministries thereby helping quick resolution of outstanding issues.
    • The NITI Forum for North East has been constituted and tangible sectoral proposals are being implemented by the States in partnership with the North East council.
    • NITI has designed some major initiatives for island development which are being implemented under the overall guidance of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
    • It is also envisaged that like the NITI Forum for the North East, other regional councils of contiguous States could be formed.
      • The first step has been taken by forming the Himalayan States Regional Council and forming a coalition of all thirteen central universities in these states.
  • Competitive Federalism
    • It promotes competitive federalism principally through pushing its sectoral indices which are put out in the public domain.
      • The indices on water, education, health, innovation, export preparedness, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have attracted significant positive attention.
    • It has also introduced a competition element in ‘Aspirational Districts Program’ by focusing on governance improvement on the ground.
      • These districts have shown significant improvement in indicators pertaining to health and nutrition, education etc.
    • Besides, several best practices in governance have emerged from these districts which are now being scaled up and replicated at the block level in some states.


  • The NITI Aayog cannot transform a deeply unequal society into a modern economy that ensures the welfare of all citizens. This is evident in the rising inequality in India.
  • NITI Aayog has no influence over private or public investment.
  • NITI Aayog does not appear to have an impact on long-term policy decisions. For example, the Goods and Services Tax.
  • NITI Aayog frequently provides uncritical support for government-sponsored schemes and programmes. However, it should keep an intellectual distance from the government.

Way ahead:

  • NITI Aayog should concentrate on policy implementation rather than just policy recommendations.
  • It should also be focusing on reforms and informing the government about where it will face consequences for failing to implement its policies and where it is falling short.