Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke of the need for a solid policy framework as the country tries to shake off the economic downturn induced by the coronavirus pandemic. In this context, he also spoke of the need to increase the cohesion between the Centre and the states. Addressing at the sixth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, PM Narendra Modi on Saturday emphasised there was a need to further strengthen start-ups and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
“We, as governments, have to provide private sector opportunities to take part in the mission of Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India),” he said at the meeting, which was attended by Chief Ministers and Lieutenant Governors of states and Union Territories.
“We recently liberalised geospatial data. If we could have done this 10 years back, it is likely that Google would have been made in India, not outside. The talent is Indian but the product is not,” PM Modi said .
During the meeting, PM Modi called upon States to work towards reducing the compliance burden for the common man as well as promote ease of doing business.
The PM stressed on the importance of better coordination between the Centre and the States for the country’s development.
“For the common man, there are thousands of compliances which can be removed. Now, that we have technology, we don’t need to ask people for the same things again and again. I would request States to reduce the compliance burden on the common man. This is important for ease of living. The Centre is also working on that,” said PM Modi, who is also the Chairman of NITI Aayog.
“We need work on ease of doing business to tap global opportunities, and on ease of living for the citizens of the country,” PM Modi added.
On the agriculture sector, PM Modi said that for farmers to get necessary financial resources, better infrastructure and latest technology, reforms were key. “We have done many reforms which reduce regulation and government interruptions,” he added.
The PM noted that even though India was an agrarian economy, it imported ₹ 65,000-₹70,000 crore worth of fertilizers. “We can stop this. But we need policies to make this happen. This money can go to the farmers. There are many products that farmers can grow for the nation as well for exports. For this, is it important that all States need to plan their agro-climatic regional policy strategy and help farmers as per that. Even during corona, agri exports have increased but the opportunity is a lot more,” PM Modi said.
The foundation of a country’s development is based on the Centre and States moving forward together in the same direction, the PM said. “Policy framework and better coordination between Centre and State is very important. For example, we have coastal States, and the blue economy has immense potential. Why shouldn’t these States leverage this opportunity?” he added.
PM Modi also noted that in the national infrastructure pipeline, the share of States was 40%, and hence it was important that the States and the Centre synchronised their budget and set priorities. There is a gap of three to four weeks between the budgets of the Centre and States, and States can always take a cue from the Union Budget, he said.
“We saw that during COVID, how the Centre and States worked together, the nation succeeded and a good image of India was built before the entire world. Today, when we are going to complete 75 years of independence, this Governing Council meet becomes even more significant,” PM Modi said.
PM Modi said this year’s budget received a positive response from all sides, which showed the mood of the nation. The nation had set its heart to move forward with speed. And youth was playing a major role in that, he said, adding that the private sector was also participating in this.
“For India’s citizens, we must try and better Ease of Living. It will help us achieve the aspirations of Indians and make their lives better,” he said.
Over the last few years, there have been opening of bank accounts, increase in vaccination and health facilities, free electricity connection, free gas connection which have “empowered the poor”, bringing phenomenal changes in their lives, he said.
“The positive response received for this year’s Budget has expressed the mood of the nation. The country has made up its mind that it wants to progress rapidly and doesn’t want to lose time. The youth is playing a major role in setting the mood of the nation,” PM Modi said.
The agenda of the sixth meeting of the governing council includes deliberations on agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, human resource development, service delivery at grassroots level and health & nutrition.
The governing council comprises the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers of States and Union Territories (UTs), with Legislatures and Lt Governors of other UTs. Saturday’s meeting will witness the entry of Ladakh for the first time, in addition to the participation of Jammu and Kashmir as a UT.
The meeting will also be attended by the ex-officio members of the Governing Council, Union Ministers, Vice Chairman, Members and CEO of NITI Aayog, and other senior officials of Government of India.The notable absentees included Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee.
This meeting was the first to be attended by the newly formed Union Territory of Ladakh. Jammu and Kashmir participated as well.
The governing council of the Niti Aayog meets regularly and its first meeting took place on February 8, 2015. The council did not meet last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.