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State PCS


  • 29 Nov 2022 GS Paper 2 Polity & Governance

    Day 18

    Question 1.
    The NITI Aayog was established to realise the spirit of Cooperative Federalism. In light of this statement discuss its objectives as well as the difference between the functions of the Planning Commission and the NITI Aayog.

    Question 2. Lokpal is a great initiative to tackle the problem of corruption but even the institution of Lokpal is faced with many challenges. Discuss.

    Answer 1


    • Start your answer by giving a brief about the NITI Aayog.
    • Discuss the objectives of the NITI Aayog.
    • Discuss the difference between the NITI Aayog and the Planning Commission.
    • Conclude suitably.


    on January 1, 2015, the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) was established as the successor to the planning commission. Planning Commission was replaced by a new institution – NITI Aayog on January 1, 2015, with an emphasis on the ‘Bottom –Up’ approach to envisage the vision of Maximum Governance, Minimum Government, echoing the spirit of 'Cooperative Federalism'.


    Objectives of the NITI Aayog

    • To foster cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis, recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.
    • To develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government.
    • To ensure, on areas that are specifically referred to it, that the interests of national security are incorporated in economic strategy and policy.
    • To pay special attention to the sections of our society that may be at risk of not benefitting adequately from economic progress.
    • To provide advice and encourage partnerships between key stakeholders and national and international like-minded Think Tanks, as well as educational and policy research institutions.
    • To create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and other partners.
    • To offer a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the development agenda.
    • To maintain a state-of-the-art Resource Centre, be a repository of research on good governance and best practices in sustainable and equitable development as well as help their dissemination to stake-holders.

    Difference Between the Planning Commission and the NITI Aayog

    NITI Aayog Planning Commission
    It doesn't have the power to impose policies on the states. It merely serves as an advisory Think Tank. It had the power to impose policies on the states and the projects approved by it.
    It draws membership from a wider expertise. It had limited expertise.
    It serves in the spirit of Cooperative Federalism as states are equal partners. States participated as spectators in annual plan meetings.
    Secretaries to be known as CEO appointed by Prime-Minister. Secretaries were appointed through the usual process.
    It focuses upon the ‘Bottom-Up’ approach of Planning. It followed a ‘Top-Down’ approach.
    It does not possess mandate to impose policies. Imposed policies on states and tied allocation of funds with projects it approved.
    It does not have powers to allocate funds, which are vested in Finance Minister. It had powers to allocate funds to ministries and state governments.


    NITI Aayog continues to be representative of an efficient, transparent, innovative, and accountable governance system in country with distinguished work ethics. NITI Aayog could emerge as an agent of change over time and contribute to the government’s agenda of improving governance and implementing innovative measures for better delivery of public services.

    Answer 1


    • Start your answer by giving a brief about Lokpal.
    • Mention the jurisdiction of Lokpal.
    • Discuss the significance and Limitations of Lokpal.
    • Conclude your answer by giving a way forward.


    The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States. These institutions are statutory bodies without any constitutional status. They perform the function of an "ombudsman” and inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for related matters.

    Lokpal is a multi-member body, that consists of one chairperson and a maximum of 8 members. Out of the maximum eight members, half will be judicial members and minimum 50% of the Members will be from SC/ ST/ OBC/ Minorities and women.

    Jurisdiction of the Lokpal

    • The Lokpal has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament and central government employees in cases of corruption.
    • Apart from this, Lokpal can also inquire into anti-graft complaints regarding any member of an institution which is wholly or partially financed by the central government or controlled by it.

    Significance of the Lokpal

    • Maladministration is like a termite that slowly erodes the foundation of a nation and hinders the administration from completing its task. Corruption is the root cause of this problem.
    • Most of the anti-corruption agencies are hardly independent. Even Supreme Court has termed CBI as a “caged parrot” and “its master’s voice”.
    • Many of these agencies are advisory bodies without any effective powers and their advice is rarely followed.
    • There is also the problem of internal transparency and accountability. Moreover, there is not any separate and effective mechanism to put checks on these agencies.
    • In this context, the independent institution of Lokpal has been a landmark move in the history of Indian polity which offered a solution to the never-ending menace of corruption.

    Limitations of the Lokpal

    • Lokpal is not free from political influence as the appointing committee itself consist of members from political parties.
    • The appointment of Lokpal can be manipulated in a way as there is no criterion to decide who is an ‘eminent jurist’ or ‘a person of integrity.’
    • The 2013 act did not provide concrete immunity to the whistle blowers. The provision for initiation of inquiry against the complainant if the accused is found innocent will only discourage people from complaining.
    • The biggest lacuna is the exclusion of judiciary from the ambit of the Lokpal.
    • The Lokpal is not given any constitutional backing and there is no adequate provision for appeal against the Lokpal.
    • The specific details in relation to the appointment of Lokayukta have been left completely on the States.
    • The complaint against corruption cannot be registered after a period of seven years from the date on which the offence mentioned in the such complaint is alleged to have been committed.

    Way Forward

    • In order to tackle the problem of corruption, the institution of the ombudsman should be strengthened both in terms of functional autonomy and availability of manpower.
    • Greater transparency, more right to information and empowerment of citizens and citizen groups is required along with a good leadership that is willing to subject itself to public scrutiny.
    • Appointment of Lokpal in itself is not enough. The government should address the issues based on which people are demanding a Lokpal. Merely adding to the strength of investigative agencies will increase the size of the government but not necessarily improve governance. The slogan adopted by the government of “less government and more governance”, should be followed in letter and spirit.
    • Moreover, Lokpal and Lokayukta must be financially, administratively and legally independent of those whom they are called upon to investigate and prosecute.
    • Lokpal and Lokayukta appointments must be done transparently so as to minimize the chances of the wrong sorts of people getting in.
    • There is a need for a multiplicity of decentralized institutions with appropriate accountability mechanisms, to avoid the concentration of too much power, in any one institution or authority.
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