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Special Status Demands Likely In PM’s NITI Aayog Meet Today: 10 Points

Farm distress, drought and security concerns will be on the agenda at the meeting. (File)

New Delhi:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair NITI Aayog’s fifth governing council meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan today. This would be the first meeting of the planning body after the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance formed a new government at the centre after a stellar win in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election. Farm distress, drought and security concerns in Maoist-affected districts will be high on the agenda.The meeting will be attended by chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, union ministers and senior government officials.

Here is your 10-point cheat sheet to NITI Aayog’s governing council meeting:

  1. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is up in arms against the BJP in her state, has refused to attend the NITI Aayog meeting. She has said it was “unacceptable” that the centre should expect states to discuss only specific agendas that it brings to the table.
  2. Andhra Pradesh’s new chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday evening over the special status demand for his state, a day ahead of the NITI Aayog meet that will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  3. Mr Reddy said he took an appointment with the Home Minister “to try and prevail on him and to also soften PM’s heard on the special category status, what we will definitely be asking for in tomorrow’s (Saturday) NITI Aayog meeting.”
  4. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is also expected to raise the demand for special status to his state. Mr Kumar, a BJP ally, has considerable presence in the Lok Sabha. He has been pressing for the status for a many years now.
  5. To push its demand for special category status for Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is planning to join hands with the YSR Congress and the JD(U) in Parliament and raise their voice unitedly.”Though the idea is in nascent stage, we are in favour of making a move with other parties in order to make impact in Parliament,” BJD Parliamentary Party leader and Puri Lok Sabha lawmaker Pinaki Mishra told PTI.
  6. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath hosted a dinner for Chief Ministers of Congress ruled states. Congress chief ministers Captain Amarinder Singh, Bhupesh Baghel, V Narayanasami and Ashok Gehlot have been invited. Other senior leaders of the party are also expected to attend the dinner, news agency ANI has reported. 
  7. The Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states are expected to raise key farmers issues and also share the benefits of the loan waiver scheme implemented by them at the NITI Aayog meeting, PTI reported. 
  8. In the first governing council meeting on February 8, 2015, the Prime Minister had laid down key mandates of the think-tank, such as fostering cooperative federalism and addressing national issues through active participation of the states. The second meeting, which took place on July 15, 2015, reviewed the progress made by three sub-groups of chief ministers and two task forces. 
  9. The third meeting, held on April 23, 2017, laid down milestones for shaping the country’s development agenda through strategy and vision documents. The fourth governing council meeting, conducted on June 17 last year, reviewed steps adopted to double farmers’ income and progress made under flagship schemes.
  10. The NITI Aayog was founded in 2014 during PM Modi’s first tenure. The think tank replaced decades old Planning Commission. The governing council is responsible for evolving a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of states.

With inputs from PTI and ANI

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