Discussing the National Development Agenda with state chief ministers at the governing council meeting of Niti Aayog, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday stressed on the need for Centre and states to work together and “make cooperative federalism even more meaningful”.
The PM said it’s time to bring competitive, cooperative federalism not only among states but also to districts.
“We have seen in the Corona period that when the state and the central government worked together, the country succeeded. Foundation of India's development is that Centre & States work together and head towards a certain direction & make cooperative federalism even more meaningful. Not only this, we have to try to bring competitive, cooperative federalism not only among states but also districts,” he said.
India, he said, wants to move fast, and the people do not want to waste time now. “The kind of positive response that has come on this year's budget, it has expressed what the mood of the nation is. The country has made up its mind. Country wants to move fast, country does not want to waste time now.”
“We are also seeing how the private sector of the country is coming forward with more enthusiasm in this development journey of the country. As a government, we also have to respect this enthusiasm, the energy of the private sector and give it equal opportunity in the self-reliant India campaign,” he said.
Modi said India managed to build a good image internationally during the Covid-19 period because the central and state governments worked together for the betterment of people. “During the COVID period we saw how Centre and States worked together, the nation succeeded and a good image of India was built before the entire world. Today, when we are going to complete 75 years of independence, this Governing Council meet becomes even more significant.”
While most chief ministers were present at the meeting, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee gave it a miss. "Mamata Banerjee may not attend the Niti Aayog's February 20 meeting," a senior TMC leader had earlier said on condition of anonymity.
Banerjee had earlier skipped the Niti Aayog's meetings and termed it as a "fruitless" exercise, alleging that the body has "no financial power" and cannot support the state plans. The sixth meeting of the governing council will witness the entry of Ladakh for the first time, in addition to the participation of Jammu and Kashmir as a UT, the statement said.
The governing council meets regularly and its first meeting took place on February 8, 2015. The council, the apex body of the government's think tank, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of Union Territories (UTs), several Union ministers and senior government officials.