NITI Aayog meet: Winning 50 Olympic gold medals, development of north-eastern states on PM's agenda

Twenty-Seven chief ministers marked their presence at the meet, however, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were absent.

Keeping a positive tone for the third governing council meeting of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed the chief ministers of states saying. He said that vision of New India could only be realised through combined efforts and cooperation of all states and chief ministers.

Twenty-Seven chief ministers marked their presence at the meet, however, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were absent. Sources said that there were representatives from both the CM's office.

NITI Vice Chairman Arvind Pangariya confirmed that Manish Sisodia the Deputy Chief Minister filled in for Kejriwal but only for the first half on Sunday when the capital witnessed a bitter fight between AAP and BJP in the MCD polls for 270 wards.

Even Captain Amrinder Singh, the new Chief Minister of Punjab was absent owing to ill health, sources said. "It is the collective responsibility of this gathering to envision the India of 2022 -- the 75th anniversary of Independence -- and see how the nation can swiftly move forward to achieve these goals," said PM Modi while addressing the meet.

CM'S SHARE THEIR VIEWS

Several chief ministers spoke their mind and presented their perspectives. The CM of trouble torn state of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti made a strong appeal to other CMS asking them to visit her state. She also appealed to ensure that students of valley were not harassed. "These children should be seen as ambassadors to other states," she said while addressing concern about mistreatment of students from valley.

The Prime Minister who spoke immediately after Mufti, further appealed to the states to appoint an officer to ensure safety of children from the state and to engage with them. This comes close on heels of Hashim Sofi a PhD scholar in BITS Pilani who returned to his home town Bandipora in Kashmir after an alleged harassment at the hostel.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the other hand raised issue of regional imbalance. To which the Prime Minister concurred saying that while some states progressed, some were on the periphery. PM added that the states which had attained development and better resources should not shy away from helping other states who were lagging behind.

LOAN WAIVER FOR FARMERS

While Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami did not specifically raise issue of farmer debts, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked for loan waiver for farmers. The Tamil Nadu CM met protesting farmers in the morning but failed to raise state specific demand of loan waiver. However, sources said that the demand of loan waiver has been communicated to the Centre by the state.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Chief Minister Shivraj Chauhan gave a presentation and outlined plans to double farmers' income through irrigation, policy and market reforms. A broad roadmap for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna was also revealed with emphasis on early completion of ongoing irrigation projects and ways to produce more yield per unit of water to farmers per drop more crop.

While there was no discord in the meeting, only Chandrababu Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh CM congratulated PM for demonitisation and the steps taken to curb black money, sources said.

The organisers called it a path breaking meet across all sectors that outlined "300 action points" as part of the government's action agenda which included 15-year long-term vision accompanied by a 7-year strategy and a 3-year action agenda.

50 OLYMPIC MEDALS

The government's apex planning body listed goals such as winning 50 Olympic medals, development of North-Eastern states and land reforms, health and education goals. The day-long meeting covered key initiatives in 15 sectors including agriculture, poverty elimination, health, education, digital payments, disinvestment and island development. The body also reviewed the performance of the 12th Five Year Plan.

The NITI Aayog also came out with a list of 100 districts which were least developed in terms of health and education for which the PM asked for a push to develop these districts on war footing.

The Prime Minister according to NITI Aayog officials asked CM's to give push to basic services and infrastructure, in districts and regions which require specific attention under centrally sponsored schemes like Swachh Bharat, skill development and poverty elevation.

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia made a presentation on GST urging the states to expedite the enactment of State GST Acts. Legislative arrangements at state-level for GST should be put in place without delay, PM in his closing remarks at NITI meet.

The NITI Aayog officials later said that they have envisaged a growth of 8 per cent for year 2031-32, while China is ahead, India will be a close second. But the growth remains under double digit figure.

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