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India PM axes Soviet-style economic planning body

Published on Aug 15, 2014 10:23 PM
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets school children after his speech at the Red Fort during celebrations of the 68th Independence Day in New Delhi on Aug 15, 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a "digital India" could compete with the world and hailed its IT professionals for banishing the country's image as a land of snake charmers and black magic. -- PHOTO: AFP 

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's new right-wing premier Narendra Modi announced on Friday an end to Soviet-style economic planning in an Independence Day speech as he pressed ahead with overhauling cumbersome government policymaking.

Modi said he was scrapping the Planning Commission - a relic of socialist policies put in place by India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was impressed by the former Soviet Union's centralised planning and five-year economic blueprints.

The commission, set up in 1950 to set economic growth and social development targets, was relevant for India in its immediate post-independence days, said Modi, who took office in May after a landslide election win by his Bharatiya Janata Party.

"But the prevalent situation in the country is different," Modi told a huge crowd at the historic Red Fort in Old Delhi in a speech marking India's 68th year of independence.

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