PM Narendra Modi chaired the fourth meeting of the NITI Aayog governing council on 17th June, 2018 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
It was attended by Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of States, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories and key officials from the Centre.
The key developments were:
• PM praised the Chief Ministers for their key role in policy formulation through sub-groups and committees on key projects like the Swachh Bharat, Digital Transactions and Skill Development.
• The PM said that in the current year, the states are receiving over Rs 11 Lakh crores from the Centre, as compared to the Rs 6 lakh crores during the last year of the previous government. The Centre’s target is universal coverage in 7 important welfare schemes like Ujjwalla, Saubhagya, Ujala, Jan Dhan, etc.
• The PM has called for widespread debate and consultations on having simultaneous Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections, proposing the system on grounds that it will lead to financial savings. It will also minimise the ‘campaign mode’ disruption to government.
Picture courtsey: NDTV
• Bihar CM, Nitish Kumar, talked in favourof giving special status to Bihar, in order to bring the backward State at par with the others.
• Increasing agricultural production was identified as an effective way of doubling farmers’ income. The CMs informed the PM of the benefits received from Central government schemes like Ayushman Bharat, eNAM, Swasthya Bima Yojana,etc.
• Modi discussed the Gram Swaraj Yojana, under which 115 aspirational districts will be identified and all parameters of human development will be addressed rapidly in these districts. The States can define the parameters of selection to identify 20% of the total blocks in the state as aspirational.
• Tamil Nadu CM, H.D. Kumaraswamy, raised the Cauvery Water issue and asked the PM to ensure the implementation of the Cauvery water dispute judgement.
• However, while the PM tried to focus on the development paradigm with references to “Team India” and “cooperative federalism”, and shared his vision of a ‘New India 2022’ with a double-digit growth rate, the Opposition seemed distraught due to the absence of the Delhi CM.
The underlying distress was due to Arvind Kejriwal’s on going sit-in at the Lieutenant Governor’s office, with Mamata Banerjee, H.D. Kumaraswamy, Pinrayi Vijayan and Chandrababu Naidu standing in Kejriwal’s support.
Among others, Chief Ministers of Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir did not attend the meeting.