PM Modi to Chair NITI Aayog Governing Council Meet Today; Kejriwal, Mamata Among 6 CMs to Skip

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair the eighth Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog on Saturday, which will deliberate on several issues including, health, skill development, women empowerment and infrastructure development, with an aim to make India a developed nation by 2047. Six chief ministers, all from states not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or its allies, have decided to skip the meeting today.

The Governing Council, the apex body of NITI Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of Union Territories, and several Union ministers. The Prime Minister is the Chairman of NITI Aayog.

Six CMs to Skip the Meeting

The chief ministers who have decided to not attend the meeting include Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, both Aam Aadmi Party leaders. Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, Bihar CM and Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar, Telangana CM and Bharat Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekar Rao, along with Tamil Nadu CM and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president MK Stalin will also skip the meeting chaired by PM Modi.

Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal on Friday announced a boycott of the Niti Aayog meeting, saying if “cooperative federalism becomes a joke, then it is not worth joining the meeting”.

He made the announcement in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he also urged him to allow the non-BJP government to also work.

In his letter, Kejriwal said, “Tomorrow is the meeting of the Niti Aayog. The job of the Niti Aayog is to promote cooperative federalism and prepare the vision for India. However, the way in which democracy has been targeted and non-BJP governments are being brought down and not allowed to work, then it is not the vision for new India and not in the spirit of cooperative federalism.”

He claimed that in the last few years, a message is being given that if any state chooses to elect a non-BJP government then it would not be “tolerated”.

Citing the May 11 judgement of the Supreme Court, he said, “After a long fight of eight years, the people of Delhi won in Supreme Court and then an ordinance was brought by your government to negate the top court orders.”

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party colleague and Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann is staying away from the meeting because the “Union government was ignoring issues related to farmers”.

“The Centre has withheld Rural Development Fee (RDF) amounting to Rs 4,000 crore, reduced the RDF rate, stopped mandi tax, delayed goods and services tax (GST) compensation, and shifted some sanctioned projects to other states,” AAP’s Punjab unit said.

West Bengal will not have any representative at the Niti Aayog meeting as the TMC government’s request to send the state finance minister and the chief secretary was “turned down” by the Centre, which “insisted” that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may attend the event. Banerjee has already decided not to attend the eighth governing council meeting of Niti Aayog.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said he would be able to attend because of “prior commitments”, while Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin will be skipping the meeting as he is on a three-day trip to Singapore and Japan.

According to Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao’s office, the Bharat Rashtra Samiti president will also not attend the meeting since he has a scheduled meeting with Kejriwal in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Chief ministers of four states- Rajasthan, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh- ruled by Congress, the largest Opposition party, directly are expected to attend the meeting.

NITI Aayog’s Governing Council Meet

“NITI Aayog will be organising its 8th Governing Council Meeting on the theme of ‘Viksit Bharat @ 2047: Role of Team India’ on May 27, 2023,” the Aayog said in a statement earlier.

The statement noted that as the world’s fifth-largest economy and the most populous nation, India is at a stage in its economic development trajectory where it can achieve accelerated growth over the next 25 years.

In this context, the statement said the 8th Governing Council Meeting provides an opportunity to create a roadmap for Viksit Bharat by 2047 in which Centre and states can work together as Team India.

“Eight prominent themes will be discussed, including Viksit Bharat@2047, thrust on MSMEs, infrastructure and investments, minimising compliances, women empowerment, health and nutrition, skill development, and Gati Shakti for area development and social infrastructure,” the statement said.

According to the statement, as a prelude to the 8th Governing Council meeting, the 2nd Chief Secretaries Conference was held in January 2023 where these themes were extensively discussed.

Wide-ranging stakeholder consultations and brainstorming sessions with subject experts, academia and practitioners were held prior to the Conference in order to gain well-rounded grassroot-level perspectives, it added.

The statement pointed that this 8th Governing Council Meeting is also being held in the backdrop of India’s G20 Presidency.

“India’s G20 motto ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ conveys its civilisational values and its vision of the role of each country in creating the future of our planet,” the statement said, adding that the emerging world has immense hopes on India’s ability to provide values-based leadership and its capacity to deliver development at scale.

The statement noted that the Centre and states have played a significant role in achieving this distinctive development trajectory.

It emphasised that India’s growth is closely interlinked with the growth of states.

Generally, the full council meeting happens every year and last year, it was held under the chairmanship of Modi on August 7.

The council meeting was not convened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first meeting of the council took place on February 8, 2015.