29 Sep 2015 20:03 IST

IMI Kolkata hosts Bengal Economic Association’s mid-year seminar

Theme of seminar was ‘Planning Commission and NITI Aayog: Experiences and Expectations’

The mid-year seminar 2015 of the Bangiya Arthaniti Parishad, or the Bengal Economic Association (BEA), was held on September 27 in collaboration with the International Management Institute (IMI) Kolkata, at the Institute’s campus in Alipore.

The theme of the seminar was ‘Planning Commission and NITI Aayog: Experiences and Expectations’. The inaugural ceremony was attended by guests such as Prof Anup Kumar Sinha of IIM Calcutta and Biswajit Guha, Senior Vice-President, Bangiya Arthaniti Parishad, apart from Arindam Banik, Director, IMI Kolkata, members of the Parishad and the faculty and staff members of IMI Kolkata.

In his welcome address, Prof Banik described the role of the BEA and similar organisations in promoting research and discussions on contemporary topics along with the significance of such endeavours for policy making in India.

Prof Anup Kumar Sinha, in his inaugural speech, mentioned that the Planning Commission had been unsuccessful in bringing about the transformation of India, as projected, the major causes being corruption and faulty strategies. The States pursued their self-interests instead of focusing on a common goal to take the nation forward, he said. He added that the newly constituted National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog aims at shared vision and promotion of the concept of “cooperative federalism”.

He stressed the fact that the States should themselves take active part in development and poverty alleviation and there is a need to develop strong infrastructure to nurture the talent of the middle income group.

The researchers and academicians presented their papers in two technical sessions based on the theme. The papers addressed the flaws in the Planning Commission, its ‘top-down’ decision-making approach in contrast to the ‘bottom-up’ approach stressed by the Aayog, and expectations from the Aayog.

The chairpersons for the two sessions were Prof Ratan Kumar Ghosal, Vice-President, BEA, and Sandip Kumar Paul, Principal, South City College respectively. The chief commentators for the sessions were Biswajit Guha and Baniprasad Bhattacharyya, EC member, BEA. The commentators presented their annotations on each paper, while referring to the paradigm shift in the context of planning in India.