Last NITI Aayog Governing Council agenda in tatters; 8th meet may see pep talk on economy

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, May 17: The eighth Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog will take place on May 27 ahead of the ninth anniversary of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre. This is also likely to be the last meeting of the Governing Council in the second tenure of the Modi government, as the Lok Sabha elections may be held in February-March next year.

With barely nine months left for any of the agenda taken up by the special meeting which is attended by the prime minister and his ministerial colleagues along with the chief ministers, the eighth Governing Council meeting is likely to see pep talk on the economy and roadmap for India@2047.

The Modi government had sought to set the agenda against the politics of freebies in the run up to the last Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog, which was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. In the run up, the Central government had hosted a two-day conference of the state chief secretaries at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh where special presentations were given on the precarious state of the finances of a few of the states as outlined by the Reserve Bank of India in a report.

The prime minister during those times had hit out at the politics of freebies, as he had sought to build a national narrative against the politics of cash dole outs given by the political parties. But since then the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken severe beating on its precieved politics of freebies in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka where the party was voted out of power amid the Congress making promises in plenty for the welfare entitlement.  

“The agenda of the last Governing Council meeting remained a matter of discussion within the four walls of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. State governments turned deaf ears to the arguments of the Central government. Now, there is hardly time left for any new agenda to be presented before the states to act on them because the country will gear up for the Lok Sabha elections, and the poll fever may begin picking up in the next few months,” said a senior official of the think tank panel. The NITI Aayog is headed by the prime minister.

Incidentally, some of the much talked about agenda taken up at the Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog nevel saw light of the day, which included the likes of cashless economy, relook at Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, farm reforms, etc.

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