NITI Aayog’s seventh Governing Council meeting, which will discuss various issues such as crop diversification, urban development and implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP), began here on Sunday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is chairing the meeting. This is the first physical meeting of the Council after July 2019.
The 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. Union ministers Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, S Jaishankar and chief minister of Uttap Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Assam are attending the meeting among others.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is boycotting the meeting. Generally, a full council meeting happens every year. The meeting was not convened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first meeting of the council took place on February 8, 2015.
At the meeting, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel urged the Centre to increase the state’s share in the central taxes and duties, citing rising burden on its resources, an official told PTI. The chief minister demanded an increase in the state’s share in the central taxes, citing that the burden on the resources of the states has been rising, the official from the state public relations department said in a statement.
Speaking on the issue of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation, Baghel sought a five-year extension for the compensation paid to the state beyond June 2022, claiming that the state was facing a revenue shortfall due to the new tax mechanism, he said. The chief minister also urged the Centre to revise the royalty rate for major minerals, including coal, the official said. As per the statement, Baghel sought a refund of the money deposited by the state government towards the National Pension System (NPS) since November 2004 along with accruals in the interest of government employees. The Centre was asked to reimburse to the state Rs 12,000 crore spent on the central security forces deployed for eradication of the Maoist menace in Chhattisgarh, it said.
Apart from this, Baghel requested the Centre to expand the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme in rural areas located near cities and in towns with a population of less than 20,000, it added.
Meanwhile, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said at the meeting that the state is impacted almost every year by natural disasters. “I would sincerely request the central government to make Odisha a special focus state and allocate funds for disaster proofing,” he said.