KCR walks Mamata path; Niti Aayog rebuts charges


Photo credit Twitter Niti Aayog & Telangana CMO

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By S Jha

New Delhi, August 6: The first Governing Council meeting of the Niti Aayog was boycotted by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. That honours is now taken by the Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao, who is boycotting the Sunday federal conclave, on the grounds that the Narendra Modi government isn’t abiding by cooperative federalism.

“We are boycotting the Niti Aayog meeting, because the spirit of cooperative federalism and Team India has been lost, with dictatorial attitude shown in imposing the Central schemes on the states,” said Rao in a video message.

KCR cited price rise, 8.1 per cent unemployment, high inflation to argue that such a situation was not desired while the Niti Aaayog was formed.

The Chief Minister also claimed that he had given several suggestions to the Niti Aayog, and not even of them was considered by the think tank panel.

The Niti Aayog quickly joined the issue, and came out with a rebuttal.

While KCR clearly made political points in his video message in furtherance of his anti-Modi plank, the think tank panel in place of a minister in the government chose to rebut the charges.

“Niti Aayog was set up as an Institution with the mandate of cooperative federalism with a premise that strong states make a strong nation.  A number of measures have already been put in place to work closely with states.  In the last year alone more than 30 meetings have been held with the Chief Ministers of States by the Vice Chairman/ Members of Niti Aayog,” said the think tank panel.

A delegation led by Vice Chairman Niti Aayog met the Telangana Chief Minister in Hyderabad on 21st January 2021 to discuss development issues pertaining to the State, said the statement, adding “more recently, despite requests made by Niti Aayog for a meeting, the Chief Minister did not respond”.

The think tank panel further stated that the “Government of India through all the Ministries as well as office of Prime Minister, been interacting with States/UTs on all issues of national importance, specifically, in preparation for the August 7, 2022 Governing Council meeting, detailed consultations between Centre and States, including Telangana, were held resulting in the first National Chief Secretaries Conference held in Dharamshala in June 2022”.

It also stated that the Dharamshala Conference was a culmination of a six- month long deliberations wherein all States/ UTs, including Chief Secretary of Telangana participated.

“The allegation of CM Telangana that states were not co-opted in preparation of agenda is incorrect,” added the Niti Aayog.

With reference to in the water sector, over the last four years, Government of India allocated Rs 3982 core under the Jal Jeevan Mission for the State of Telangana, said Niti Aayog, adding “however, the state chose to draw only Rs 200 crore”.

“Overall allocation under Centrally Sponsored Schemes have increased from Rs 2,03,740 crores in 2015-16 to Rs 4,42,781 crores in 2022-23, i.e., more than double during this period, in addition to the substantial hike in awards under the Fourteenth Finance Commission from 32 per cent to 42 per cent. Enough flexibility has also been built in for utilization of funds allocated under CSS,” added the Niti Aayog.

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