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Centre shouldn't force policies on states: Mamata at NITI Aayog meet

Centre shouldnt force policies on states: Mamata at NITI Aayog meet
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New Delhi: Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who returned to Kolkata on Sunday evening, during her speech at Niti Aayog meeting emphasised that the Centre should look into the demands of the state governments "more seriously" and no policies should be thrust upon them.

Addressing a meeting of the Governing Council of the Niti Aayog in New Delhi, Banerjee stressed that there should be a "greater cooperation" between the Centre and the states, according to official sources.

It was learnt that Banerjee also said that state governments should not be pressured to implement the National Education Policy (NEP).

It may be noted that the Bengal government was not keen on implementing the NEP. It constituted a 10-member committee of experts in April to examine NEP and assess the need for a state-level policy on education.

"There should be greater cooperation between the Central government and the state governments," Banerjee said during her speech at the meeting.

She mentioned that planned schemes for the states can only be implemented if the Centre releases funds within the stipulated timeline.

Banerjee also claimed that dues from the central government on various schemes for Bengal amount to about 1 lakh crore till July 31, 2022.

She further listed that the dues of central funds for Cyclone Bulbul was Rs 6,334 crore. Rs. 32,310.32 crore for Amphan and Rs. 4,222 crores for Cyclone Yass. She also reiterated that Rs. 6,561.56 crore is due under MGNREGA; Rs. 9,329.76 crore is due for PMAY (G); Rs 2,105 crore is due for PMGSY (Batch-I); Rs. 174.70 crore is due for mid-day meal scheme for 2015-16; Rs.344.37 crore is due till date for Swach Bharat Mission (Rural); Rs 1,263.97 crore is due for Food Subsidy (NFSA) for 2020-21 (Q4); Rs 178.30 crore is pending for the ongoing Flood Management Programme on Keliaghi- Kapaleswari (I&W deptt) where 50 per cent reimbursement of the advance state share of FMPs have not been received from the Government of India, Rs.44.40 crore has not been released by the centre yet for the Pradhan Mantri Janvikash Karyakram (MA&ME Deptt.), among the others.

This is the first physical meeting of the Governing Council since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the 2021 meeting held via video conferencing.

The meeting was attended by 23 chief ministers, three lieutenant governors, two Administrators and Union ministers. The Governing Council discussed four key agenda items — crop diversification and achieving self-sufficiency in pulses, oilseeds and other agri-commodities; implementation of National Education Policy in school education; implementation of NEP in higher education; and urban governance. During her four-day visit to Delhi, Banerjee attended the 3rd Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav national committee meeting on Saturday at Rashtrapati Bhavan cultural centre. During her visit, she also met the Prime Minister and President Draupadi Murmu.

The TMC chief had also held a meeting of party MPs.

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