States asked to speed up infrastructure development
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called upon states to "speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation" to spur economic growth.
Addressing the third meeting of the Governing Council of Niti Aayog, Modi also said the think-tank's long, medium and short term action plans would benefit all the states.
"Niti Aayog is working on a 15-year long term vision, seven-year medium term strategy, and three-year action agenda," he told the 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.
Noting that the chief ministers need not come to Niti for approval of budgets or plans, he 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, he added.
Modi noted that while there has been a 40 per cent 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 per cent to 25 per cent. States need "to speed up capital expenditure and infrastructure creation," he said.
Talking about the Goods and Services Tax (GST), he 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.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were among those who skipped Niti Aayog's Governing Council meet here on Sunday.
However, the source said that Kejriwal sent Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to represent Delhi, while Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra attended on behalf of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
Among the opposition ruled states, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami attended the meeting.
Others who were present include Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Suresh Prabhu, Prakash Javadekar, Rao Inderjit Singh and Smriti Irani also attended the meet.