NITI Aayog Meet: Punjab Demands MSP For Farmers, Chhattisgarh Asks For GST Compensation

From farmers’ plight to GST revenue, chief Ministers of States raised several issues in the 7th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and held in the national capital on Sunday.

Assam Chief Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma discussed the modernization of the agriculture sector while attending the Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog in Delhi.
He said the meeting mainly concentrated on the reduction of imports and finding more ways to produce paddy, millet, oil, pulses and others.

The Assam CM said, “Last year, export was around Rs 50 lakh crore and the Prime Minister is now working on increasing it. In the discussion, representing Assam, I informed about the implementation of the National Education Policy, modernization of the agriculture sector and urbanization in the state.”

Participating in the NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Sunday expressed his commitment to move forward with a determination to uphold the state as a role model of development and good governance in the country.

Speaking at the meeting, Patel said Gujarat has earned first place in various categories of Good Governance Index, Logistics Performance Index, State Energy and Climate Index, Export Preparedness Index and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index 3.0 released by the Government of India. He said the state has scaled new heights of development through several ambitious projects like GIFT City, Dream City, 30 GW hybrid renewable energy park, Dholera SIR and Statue of Unity.

Referring to the initiatives and achievements of the urban sector in Gujarat, Chief Minister Patel said that the state government is fully committed to realising the dream of the Prime Minister of making Gujarat’s cities world-class. Giving details of this, he said that for speedy development of cities, the state government has given top priority to various welfare schemes for planned urban development and citizen-oriented governance.

He informed that a three-tier urban development roadmap has been prepared for the planned development of the cities of the state.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that in the Himalayan states, the NITI Aayog should make a model of development through science and technology, which is based on ecology, population, and environmental sensitivity.

Dhami said work is also being done at a fast pace, at the World Prasadav Pilgrimage Site Badrinath under Kedarnath’s Master Plan. He said Uttarakhand is the leading state in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Giving information about development work in different areas in the state, Chief Minister Dhami said that there is immense potential for agricultural diversification in the state. Mandua, Jhingora, Madira, Ramdana, mountainous pulses such as rajma etc. and medicinal plants are being consistently promoted. Aroma Park has been established on 40 acres in the state. In which the establishment of Aroma industries will have to invest around Rs 300 crore and more than 5,000 job opportunities. Horti-tourism is being developed to promote tourism and Horticulture in the state.

Dhami further said in order to promote online education, Virtual Class Room has been established in 500 schools in all 13 districts of the state. In 200 schools, 08 business education courses have also been started.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who attended the NITI Aayog’s governing council meeting here on Sunday, said that he raised the issues of farmers including Minimum Support Price (MSP) while adding that he was happy with the meeting.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Mann said, “Today was NITI Aayog’s 7th meeting and it was the first for me after becoming the Chief Minister. It is unfortunate that no one has come from Punjab in the last three years. I went with detailed homework today and kept Punjab’s issues. The biggest issue was of the variety of crops.” Chief Minister Mann said he was satisfied with the NITI Aayog’s meeting as all issues were listened to.

“We are caught up in wheat and rice. Our water levels have decreased to a dangerous level. We demand MSP for farmers and demand a reformed committee as there are no stakeholders in it. I am happy with the meeting and all issues were listened to,” he said.

At the NITI Aayog’s meeting, Mann suggested holding the G20 meeting in Amritsar.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday suggested that Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) should be implemented in rural areas located near cities and cities with a population of less than 20 thousand.

Chief Minister Baghel also suggested that agricultural research institutes should be given the responsibility of providing free seeds of newly developed crop varieties, mini kits and breeder seeds on a large scale to ensure crop diversification and increase in the production and productivity of pulses, and oilseeds.

“Chhattisgarh is self-sufficient in the production of food grains and has taken many innovative measures to increase the production of pulses and oilseeds in the state,” he said.

Baghel also reiterated the state’s demand of GST compensation, transferring of the amounts collected as ‘additional levy’ from coal block companies and reimbursement of expenditure of Rs 11 thousand 828 crores made by the state government for eradication of Naxalism.

The Chief Minister said that there has been a loss of revenue to the states due to the GST tax system, the Center has not made arrangements to compensate for the loss of revenue of about Rs 5000 crores to the state in the coming year, so the GST compensation grant should be continued for the next 5 years even after June 2022.

He said Chhattisgarh has received less shares of central taxes by Rs 13,089 crore in the Union Budget of the last three years, resulting in extreme pressure on the resources of the state. In the coming budget, the share of central taxes should be given to the state completely.

He also demanded that Rs 4,140 crore deposited with the center at the rate of Rs 294 per tonne on coal mining from coal block companies should be transferred to Chhattisgarh soon.

Baghel made five demands for the welfare of the people of the state. He urged the revision of the royalty rate of the main minerals, including coal.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said NITI Aayog can take up the role of an ombudsman and can resolve disputes between States and central governments in the implementation of central schemes.

“We all accept that the State and central governments are political entities and sometimes there are disputes in the implementation of central schemes. NITI Aayog can resolve these issues like an ombudsman,” Patnaik said in his remarks during the Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog.

Further in his remarks, Odisha has been historically neglected in the subjects that are in the central list such as telecom, railways and banking.

“We have the lowest density in all these crucial infrastructures and I would urge the central government to give special focus for Odisha,” Patnaik said.

Odisha is impacted almost every year by natural disasters.

“It’s important to have disaster resilient infrastructure to protect the state and its people from the vagaries of nature. I would sincerely request the central government to make Odisha a special focus state and allocate funds for disaster proofing,” he added.

Speaking about Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana, he said the scheme has some implementation issues in the field level because of which genuine farmers were deprived in some cases.

“Nitiayog may study this and suggest ways to protect the interest of farmers,” he said without exactly explaining the issues.

The 7th governing council meeting of NITI Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan’s Cultural Centre in the national capital on Sunday.

The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of the States and Union Territories, legislators, Lt Governors of UTs, Ex-Officio Members, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Full-Time Members of NITI Aayog and Union Ministers as Special Invitees. However, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar skipped the meeting.

Notably, this meeting is the first in-person meeting of the Governing Council since July 2019.

The agenda of the NITI Aayog meeting includes crop diversification and achieving self-sufficiency in oilseeds and pulses; implementation of the National Education Policy-school education; implementation of the National Education Policy-higher education; and urban governance. (ANI)

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