"With central Plan Expenditure of the order of Rs 5.75 lakh crore was being channelised per year for development, it was absolutely necessary that there is concurrent, comprehensive, credible and reliable evaluation.

"A major task before the NITI Aayog is to actively monitor and evaluate implementation of programmes and initiatives," Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh said while inaugurating 5-day's EvalWeek here.

The event mainly focuses on strategies to spread awareness about and use of evaluation as a tool for enhancing result from policies and programmes of good governance.

It is being jointly organised by National Institute for Labour Economics Research and Development (NILRD) and Programme Evaluation Organisation of the NITI Aayog.

Singh stressed for a time-bound, ethical and credible evaluations based on ground-level evidence and feedback conducted by independent organisations without any conflict of interest. "In spite of the long history of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in the country, somehow, a national evaluation policy had not come into existence.

"It was time to consider developing a National Evaluation Policy that would provide direction to M&E activities in the country, laying stress upon quality standards and sound, ethical procedures and provide for appropriate institutional mechanisms," he added.

The United Nations is in the process of developing a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which would build upon the MDGs and would form the basis for global development for the next 15 years, he said.

Event participants include central and state government officials, representatives of international and national organisations, individual researchers, academicians and evaluation practitioners.

Other events during the week include interactions of delegates from other countries with various divisions of NITI Aayog, round tables on gender-responsive and equity focused evaluations, case studies, emerging challenges and participatory approaches to evaluation.

The year 2015 has been declared as the International Year of Evaluation. The programme will conclude with a summing up of the outcomes and valedictory address by the CEO of NITI Ayog Sindhushree Khullar.

The newly created National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has replaced the 65-year old Planning Commission. Well known India born economist and Columbia University Professor Arvind Panagariya is its Vice-Chairman.

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