On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed all chief ministers in the third meeting of NITI Aayog’s Governing Council.
The third meeting of the council began at Rashtrapati Bhavan with the main agenda of deliberating on the 15-year Vision Document to accelerate the country's economic development. These were the key highlights of the meeting.
1. 300 Specific Action Points
NITI Aayog came out with 300 specific action points for accelerating the economic growth of the country. However, no specific details about the action plan were available.
The action points are part of the presentation on a 15-year long-term vision accompanied by a 7-year strategy and a 3-year action agenda, an official statement said.
Arvind Panagariya noted that there were over 300 specific action points that has been identified, covering a whole gamut of sectors.
2. GST Reflects Spirit of Nation’s “Oneness”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the consensus on Goods and Services Tax (GST) reflects the spirit of 'one nation, one aspiration, one determination'.
The consensus on GST will go down in history as a great illustration of cooperative federalism. GST reflects the spirit of ‘One nation, One aspiration, One determination’.
While the GST Council has decided on a four-tier rate structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent, its Fitment Committee will devise a formula for tax rate to be levied on different products and services under the GST regime from July.
3. Change Fiscal Year
PM Modi pitched for shifting to a January-December fiscal year.
He said in a country where agricultural income is exceedingly important, budgets should be prepared immediately after the receipt of agricultural incomes for the year.
Modi asked the states to take the initiative in this regard. Currently, India follows April- March as fiscal year.
Later NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya said the PM wants that "we should think of January-December financial year as this is appropriate from the point of view of farmers".
4. Simultaneous State and Lok Sabha Elections
The PM called for carrying forward the debate and discussion on simultaneous Central and state elections.
5. Economy Growth
The Indian economy will see an over three-fold expansion at $7.25 trillion by 2030 and clock an average growth rate of 8 percent over the next 15 years, said NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya.
Our base GDP is large. If we grow at an 8 percent average rate for the next 15 years, our GDP will be Rs 469 lakh crore by 2030 (around USD 7.25 trillion).
The country's GDP stood at around USD 2.11 trillion in 2015-16, he said.
When asked whether the Aayog has given up hopes of double-digit growth, he said, "We could grow at 8 percent in rupee and 10 percent in dollar terms."
6. Speed Up Capital Expenditure and Infrastructure Creation
PM Modi called upon states to "speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation" to spur economic growth. He said the vision of 'New India' can only be realised through the combined efforts and cooperation of all the states.
Stating that poor infrastructure in the country is hampering economic development, Modi said more expenditure on basic infrastructure such as roads, ports, power and rail would help in accelerating the pace of growth.
7. Take Care of Jammu and Kashmir Students
Modi urged all chief ministers to take care of students from Jammu and Kashmir in their respective states.
Modi's advice at a meeting with chief ministers came after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti raised the issue.
The Prime Minister "urged states to reach out to these students (of J&K) from time to time," said a statement by the PMO quoting Modi's concluding remarks.
The remark comes days after six Kashmiri students of Mewar University in Rajasthan were thrashed by some locals there, who were later arrested and turned out to not be students.
8. NEET and Cauvery on Tamil Nadu’s Agenda
Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami raised a number of issues concerning Tamil Nadu, including its demand for exemption from NEET test.
We stressed for the exemption from NEET for Tamil Nadu... Also, it has been insisted that the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) should be constituted immediately.
Tamil Nadu has been insisting that it be given exemption from the National Entrance Cum Eligibility Test (NEET) for MBBS and BDS courses, with the state Assembly having adopted two Bills in this regard.
The Bills are since awaiting Presidential assent.
9. Protesting Farmers
CM Palaniswami also brought up the issue of Tamil Nadu farmers protesting at Jantar Mantar. They "temporarily" called off their agitation on Sunday after over 40 days after Palaniswami "promised" to meet their demands.
K Palaniswami, Tamil Nadu CM The farmers have withdrawn their protest and will be returning soon.
10. Punjab Asked for “One-Time Loan Waiver”
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged the NITI Aayog for a one-time waiver of the state's Rs 1,82,000 crore debt and sought a special financial package from the Centre to promote industries.
The chief minister's appeal for the central assistance was taken on record in the form of a speech as he could not attend the meeting.
Lauding the central government’s Smart City initiative, the chief minister mooted the establishment of Smart Villages on the same lines for the development of Punjab’s rural infrastructure.
(With inputs from PTI.)