Rajesh Kumar Singh New Delhi

INDIA’S prime minister sought suggestions from the public on Monday to help refashion the Soviet-inspired central Planning Commission, which supporters say is in line with a new, open style of governance.

Since he took over in May, Narendra Modi has promised to cut red tape, fight corruption and make it easier to do business in the country as he tries to get the economy moving after years of slowing growth.

He announced plans last week to replace the Planning Commission, a vestige of India’s early attempt to mimic the Soviet command economy, with a modern institution to reflect a shift to a market-based economy where the states were the main drivers of growth rather than a central body.

“We envision the proposed institution as one that caters to the aspirations of 21st century India and strengthens participation of the states,” Modi said in a Twitter post.

He said people could post their comments on the shape of the new institution on a portal he had launched to share ideas on issues of national importance. The decision to involve the public is the latest of Modi’s efforts to break down governance structures that Indians see as failing them.

He has chosen to communicate via Twitter and Facebook, shunning mainstream media. He has asked bureaucrats to approach him directly with ideas.

Modi says his measures are meant to improve the performance of a broken government. But his critics contend there is no sign of real change in the first 80 days of the new administration and that the shift so far has been only in style.

He won a landslide victory in general elections on a promise to revive economic growth that has fallen below 5 percent and control runaway prices. So far, there has been little sign of big-bang reforms. – Reuters