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Niti Aayog meeting: Narendra Modi asks states to speed up infra development

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-04-2017 PTI

New Delhi: At the third meeting of the governing council of Niti Aayog on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the states “to speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation” to spur economic growth.

The prime minister also said the Niti Aayog’s long-, medium- and short-term action plans would benefit all the states.

“Niti Aayog is working on a fifteen-year long-term vision, seven-year medium term strategy, and three-year action agenda,” Modi told the Niti Aayog meeting, which was attended by chief ministers, union ministers and senior officials.

The prime minister further said the vision of “New India” can only be realised through the combined efforts and cooperation of all the states.

“Team India” has assembled here to discuss and reflect on ways to prepare the country for changing global trends, Modi said. It is the collective responsibility of this gathering to envision the India of 2022—the 75th anniversary of Independence—and see how the nation can swiftly move forward to achieve these goals, he added.

Observing that the Niti Aayog has been taking steps to transform India, Modi asked the government, private sector and civil society to work in sync to promote development.

The Niti Aayog, he said, is a collaborative federal body whose strength is in its ideas, rather than in administrative or financial control.

Noting that the chief ministers need not come to Niti Aayog for approval of budgets or plans, the prime minister said the body had gone beyond relying on government inputs and taken on board a number of outside specialists, experts and young professionals. The states too can contribute to policy formulation.

Modi noted that while there has been a 40% increase in overall fund allocation to states between 2014-15 and 2016-17, the percentage of funds tied to central schemes has declined from 40% to 25%.

States need “to speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation,” he said. Stating that poor infrastructure in the country is hampering economic development, Modi said more expenditure on basic infrastructure such as roads, ports, power and rail would help in accelerating the pace of growth.

Talking about the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Modi said the consensus on the new indirect tax regime will go down in history as a great illustration of cooperative federalism.

“GST reflects the spirit of ‘One nation, One aspiration, One determination’,” he added. The prime minister also called for carrying forward the debate and discussion on simultaneous central and state elections.

The Niti Aayog meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan is being attended by several chief ministers, including from non-BJP ruled states such as Punjab’s Captain Amarinder Singh, Bihar’s Nitish Kumar, Tripura’s Manik Sarkar and Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah.

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