Chairs 7th governing council meeting of NITI Aayog
‘States’ efforts helped India emerge from Covid’
New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said local goods should be encouraged wherever possible stressing that ‘Vocal for local’ is not the agenda of an individual political party but a common goal.
Speaking at the 7th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog as its Chairman, he exhorted states to focus on promoting 3Ts—Trade, Tourism, Technology—in every Indian Mission around the world.
Modi said states must focus on reducing imports, increasing exports and identifying opportunities for the same in every state.
“We should encourage people to use local goods wherever possible,” he said.
While calling for an all-out effort to strengthen the economy, the PM said even though GST collection has improved there is much more potential to grow it further.
An official statement from Niti Aayog said PM Modi highlighted the importance of all the issues on the agenda especially the need for India to focus on modernized agriculture, animal husbandry, and food processing to become self-sufficient and a global leader in the agriculture sector.
Modi said rapid urbanization can become India’s strength instead of weakness by leveraging technology to ensure ease of living, transparent service delivery, and improvement in the quality of life for every citizen of urban India.
The PM also spoke about India’s G20 presidency in 2023 and called it a unique opportunity to show the world that India is not just Delhi—it is every State and Union Territory of the country.
Noting that India’s federal structure and cooperative federalism emerged as a model for the world during the Covid crisis, Modi said that credit for this goes to the state governments which focused on grassroots delivery of public services to the people through cooperation across political lines.
This was the first physical meeting of the Governing Council of the Niti Aayog since the onset of the pandemic. The meeting on Sunday was attended by 23 Chief Ministers, 3 Lieutenant Governors and 2 Administrators and several Union Ministers.
Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar were not present in the meeting.
The four key agenda items of the meeting were crop diversification, implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) in schools and in higher education, and urban governance.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Suman Bery said the issue of freebies was not discussed during the meeting.
“There were general discussions on resources and so on but they stuck to the agenda. I think the spirit was more of, you know, focussing on the four themes which were set as the agenda. So, these issues really didn’t come up,” Niti CEO Parameswaran Iyer added.
A statement issued by the Chhattisgarh government said CM Bhupesh Baghel while participating in the meeting proposed to continue with the GST compensation to states for the next five years beyond June 2022.
Baghel said there had been pressure on state resources and appealed for raising states’ share in the tax collected by the Centre.
As per the official statement, he also suggested revising the rates of royalty on various minerals.
Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said that some states demanded that minimum support price (MSP) in case of pulses and edible oil needs to be made more effective.
Meanwhile, in order to exchange views on key policy related issues between Centre and States, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the seventh Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog on Sunday at Rashtrapati Bhawan Cultural Centre here.
According to Niti Aayog, the meeting will pave the way for synergies towards a new era of collaboration and cooperation between Centre and States/ Union Territories.
The forum provides an opportunity for the Centre and States to exchange views on key policy related issues aimed at strengthening India’s growth trajectory.
As India commemorates 75 years of Independence, there is a reinforced need for the states to be agile, resilient and self-reliant and move towards AatmaNirbhar Bharat in a spirit of cooperative federalism, Niti Aayog said.
“The agenda of the meeting, interalia, includes crop diversification and achieving self-sufficiency in oilseeds and pulses and agri-communities; implementation of the National Education Policy–school education; implementation of the National Education Policy–higher education; and urban governance,” Niti Aayog added.
As part of preparations for the meeting, the National Conference of Chief Secretaries held in Dharamshala in June 2022 which was the culmination of the six month long rigorous exercise by the Centre and States.
The conference was chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by the Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs, along with senior officials of the Central and State Governments.
The 7th Governing Council Meeting will endeavour to finalize a roadmap and outcome oriented action plan on each of the above themes, Niti Aayog said.
This would be the first in-person meeting of the Governing Council since July 2019.
It is particularly important as we enter Amrit Kaal against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and in light of India hosting the G20 Presidency and summit next year, Niti Aayog said.
The meeting would also lay emphasis on the importance of the Presidency for India for the federal system and the role that states can play in highlighting their progress at the G-20 Platform.
NITI Aayog’s Governing Council is the premier body tasked with evolving a shared vision of national priorities and strategies with the active involvement of States and Union Territories.
The Governing Council presents a platform to discuss inter-sectoral, inter-departmental and federal issues.
It comprises the Prime Minister of India; Chief Ministers of all the states and union territories with legislature; Lt Governors of other UTs; Ex-Officio Members; Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog; Full-Time Members, NITI Aayog; and Union Ministers as Special Invitees.
According to Niti Aayog, the Council provides one of the most important forum for deliberations between the Centre and States and identifying key strategies for cohesive action with a whole-of-Government approach.
Prime Minister also hailed the collective efforts of all the states in the spirit of cooperative federalism as the force that helped India emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. Addressing the seventh meeting of the Governing Council (GC) of NITI Aayog in New Delhi, the Prime Minister said, “Every state played a crucial role according to its strength and contributed to India’s fight against Covid. This led to India emerging as an example for the developing nations to look up to as a global leader.”
This was the first physical meeting of the Governing Council since the onset of the pandemic, as the 2021 meeting was held virtually. The meeting was attended by 23 chief ministers, 3 Lieutenant Governors and 2 administrators and Union ministers. The meeting was moderated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
In his inaugural address, the Prime Minister said India’s federal structure and cooperative federalism emerged as a model for the world during the Covid crisis. He said that India had sent a powerful message to the developing nations of the world—that it is possible to overcome challenges with resilience despite resource limitations. The PM said that the credit for this goes to the State Governments, which focused on grassroots delivery of public services to the people through cooperation across political lines. (UNI)