Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the fifth governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog on Saturday. This will be the first meeting with the state chief ministers after PM Modi registered a landslide victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections and included new members into the government body, including Amit Shah, who is Home Minister.
The meeting to take place at Rashtrapati Bhawan, will be attended by chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials. However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao will skip the meeting.
Mamata Banerjee refused the fifth governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog, saying it is “fruitless” as the Niti Aayog has no financial powers to support state plans.
Headed by the Prime Minister, the Governing Council includes ministers of Finance, Home, Defence, Agriculture, Commerce and Rural Development, besides state chief ministers and Niti Aayog vice chairman, CEO and members.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will also be missing the meeting due to health issues.
According to the official statement, many core issues will be tabled during the meeting such as drought situation in various parts of the country, rainwater harvesting, farmer distress and preparedness for Khariff crops.
While the Punjab government is hoping that the Centre will help the state replenish its drained aquifers through rain-water harvesting, the states of Bihar and Andhra Pradesh are expected to once again raise the demand for special status for their respective states.
CM Jagan Mohan Reddy had met Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday to discuss again about the special status for Andhra Pradesh.
The Congress-ruled states are expected to raise key farmers issues and also share the benefits of the loan waiver scheme implemented by them.
Jagan said his main purpose of the visit is “to try and prevail on him (Shah) and also soften the PM’s (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) heart on the issue of the special category status, which we’ll definitely be asking for in the NITI Aayog meeting”.
Founded in 2014 during the first term of PM Modi, NITI Aayog replaced the decades old Planning Commission formed during former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s tenure.