New Delhi: NITI Aayog’s fourth governing council meet on Sunday came to end with chief ministers of states and Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories making their demands in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Odisha, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Mizoram and Sikkim chief ministers, however, did not attend the meeting.
Sources in NITI Aayog informed that the North-Eastern states could not participate due to floods and had sent written notes.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Rajiv Kumar said, “Ayushman Bharat was welcomed by all the CMs and the National Health Protection Scheme was also welcomed. It’s a historic movement in the field of healthcare. The chief ministers want more and regular interaction with NITI Aayog, we will ensure that and work for it.”
At the end of the NITI Aayog governing council meet, the Prime Minister thanked the Chief Ministers for their 'remarks' and 'suggestions' at the event. In a tweet he said:
I thank the Chief Ministers of the various states for their remarks and suggestions on areas such as water conservation, environment, agriculture and MGNREGA.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 17, 2018
While demand for special category, increased devolution of sector-specific funds and finding a solution to the Delhi deadlock surfaced as major demands, here is the state-wise wish-list posed by the state leaders:
Chandra Babu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh
- Special Category Status: Naidu referred to the former Prime Minister’s promise and iterated that as a condition to passing the AP Reorganisation Bill, the government had assured on the floor of Rajya Sabha to accord Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh for a period of five years.
- Use of SECC Data: The chief minister claimed that Andhra Pradesh has been effectively implementing NTR Vydya Seva for 1.44 crore households in the state. However, Government of India’s stance to use the SECC data limits it to 56 lakh households only.
- Finance Commission: In relation to the Terms of Reference of the 15th Finance Commission, the Telegu Desam Party chief said that adopting the 2011 Census population instead of 1971 Census population despite a two-time review “would have far-reaching adverse consequences for the democratic and federal setup of our country.”
Nitish Kumar, Bihar
- Special Category Status: Like Chandrababu Naidu, Nitish Kumar, too, raised similar demands for Bihar, saying the state lagged behind on indexes of human development, per capita income, education, health and institutional finance, thus making it a fit case for special status.
- Special Cell: The Bihar chief minister said a special cell under the Planning Commission, which was instituted to look into the needs of the state, should be revived as the NITI Aayog has replaced the Commission.
- Funds: The Bihar chief minister demanded the release of Rs 2,600 crore as Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF), which he claimed was due to his state.
HD Kumaraswamy, Karnataka
- Farm Debt: The newly elected chief minister raised the issue of farm loan waiver in Karnataka and said his government is ready to address this problem and requested for 50% support for the proposed loan waiver initiative.
- Water Decade: Water is becoming a scarce resource in Karnataka said the chief minister. He suggested that 10 years should be exclusively dedicated towards extensive and intensive water conservation efforts and called it the “Water Decade”.
- Jobs: “I would like to raise an issue not listed in the agenda, but is extremely important. This is regarding jobs for the youth,” said Kumaraswamy. The JD(S) leader sought the Centre’s support in providing jobs.
Captain Amrinder Singh, Punjab
- Farm Loan Waiver: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to constitute a Committee of the union government and some chief ministers to formulate a blueprint of a National Debt Waiver Scheme for farmers in consultation with States.
-Border Development: The Chief Minister pushed for special one-time infrastructure development package for Border Areas for Punjab, which has an active International Border with thickly populated border districts.
-Water Crisis: Referring to the serious water crisis Punjab is staring at, Singh urged the Centre to include the rivers of Punjab for capital assistance on the lines of the Ganga Action Plan.
Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh
- Agrarian Crisis: The Uttar Pradesh CM has sought the Centre’s help for doubling farmers’ income in the state through various initiatives like Soil Health Card, Irrigation facilities & e-NAM schemes.
K Palaniswami, Tamil Nadu
- Agricultural Market: “The central government should support the states in establishing Farmers’ Cooperative Market for fruits and vegetables in the major urban areas with required infrastructure and transport facilities,” said Palaniswami.
- Central University: The Tamil Nadu chief minister also pitched for the Gandhigram Rural Institute in Tamil Nadu to be upgraded as a central university.