PM’s pet project, NITI Aayog, gets a whole new swanky look!
The fifth floor of NITI Aayog is much talked about in bureaucratic circles, as Amitabh Kant, the CEO of the think tank, along with his key aides, checked into the new office in February this year.
The renovation cost of this workplace for “New India” has been pegged at Rs 9.26 crore. An approximate Rs 34 lakh was spent only on greening the office space, with exotic indoor plants dotting the place.
The actual figures came to light through a response to a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by The New Indian Express. NITI Aayog admitted a sum of Rs 8.4 crore was allocated for renovation, refurbishment and re-development of the building’s fifth floor.
“Besides, a sum of `34 lakh was approved for horticulture; Rs 52 lakh has been incurred on networking and telephone cabling,” the RTI reply stated.
A senior official of the think tank said,
“The fifth-floor office of the CEO is a departure from government buildings in the national capital.
It gives the impression to visiting dignitaries from abroad that India too is changing and could boast of the best when it comes to office space.”
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The 40,000 sq. ft new office space contains cabins, conference and meeting rooms patterned on corporate buildings, with see-through glass partitions, along with 196 exotic indoor plants. It has views of Parliament, South and North Block, and Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Besides the Niti CEO, the MD of Atal Innovation Mission and DG of Data Management and Evaluation Office are placed on the fifth floor. Young professionals and consultants too have got spots among the 165 workstations in the new office.
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Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh formally inaugurated the renovated new office area of NITI Aayog on the 5th floor of the NITI Bhawan building couple of months ago.
The NITI Aayog has been criticized in the past by several economists and have also been accused of manipulating data.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday infact even said he would scrap the NITI Aayog if his party is voted to power in upcoming Lok Sabha elections, alleging that it has served no purpose other than making marketing presentations for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and fudging data.
Mr Gandhi said the Congress party will bring back the Planning Commission, whose members will be renowned economists and experts and the total staff will be below 100.
“If voted to power, we will scrap the NITI Aayog. It has served no purpose other than making marketing presentations for the PM & fudging data. We will replace it with a lean Planning Commission whose members will be renowned economists & experts with less than 100 staff,” Gandhi said in a tweet.