PM to chair NITI Aayog meet today; KCR to boycott
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will preside over the NITI Aayog's (National Institution for Transforming India) seventh Governing Council meeting on Sunday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. However, Telangana Chief Minister (CM) K Chandrashekar Rao's reamarks that he won't attend the key meeting, have sparked controversy. According to sources, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar will also reportedly skip the meeting.
- The Governing Council of NITI Aayog is the premier body charged with creating a common vision of national priorities and policies with the active participation of states and union territories.
- The conference on Sunday would be the first to have in-person attendance since 2019.
- Earlier, Kumar, a BJP ally, didn't reportedly attend Prime Minister Modi's dinner for Droupadi Murmu, India's first tribal woman president.
According to a government statement, the meeting aims to "pave the way for synergies towards a new era of collaboration and cooperation between the center and states, and union territories in the drive towards building a steady, sustainable, and inclusive India." According to NITI Aayog, the Centre's allocation to states has doubled, from Rs. 2,03,740 crores in 2015-16 to Rs. 4,42,781 crores in 2022-23.
On Saturday, Telangana CM KC Rao stated, "I'm staying away from it.....as a mark of strong protest against the present trend of the central government to discriminate against the States....not treating them as equal partners in our collective effort to make the nation strong and developed." Central government statement termed KCR's decision to skip the meeting "unfortunate," while stressing the importance of the meeting.
"The Governing Council is a forum where the highest political leadership in the country at Centre and State levels deliberate on key development-related issues and agree on appropriate outcome-oriented solutions for national development," the statement read.
The meeting is taking place after six months of deliberations in which both states and union territories, along with Telangana's chief secretary, participated, according to the government's statement on the issue. It was specifically mentioned in the Jal Jeevan Mission initiative that the Centre has reportedly earmarked Rs. 3,982 crore. The southern state of Telangana, however, reportedly chose to collect only Rs. 200 crore.
Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann reportedly stated on Saturday, "I will raise the issues of water, debt of farmers, legal guarantee to MSP, canal system, cleaning of Buddha Nallah' (in Ludhiana), BBMB (Bhakra Beas Management Board) and health-related matters." According to the NITI Aayog, the meeting is also significant "in light of India hosting the G20 Presidency and Summit next year."
"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," the NITI Aayog's statement further read.