The much significant fifth governing meeting of the Niti Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that was held on Saturday is skipped by three chief ministers of the country. The chief ministers giving the meeting a miss are West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao and Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
The Punjab CM has cited his poor health reasons for his absence from the meeting. The WB chief minister, on the other hand, has said it earlier that attending the Niti Aayog meeting is “fruitless”. The Telangana CM could not attend the meeting as he had to remain busy with preparations for the inauguration of an irrigation project. The project is to be unveiled in his state Talengana.
Stating her reason and the decision of not attending the Niti Aayog meeting has been stated by Mamata Banerjee in a 3-page letter to PM Modi. The basic thing stated in the letter is that according to her attending it is “simply useless.” According to her, the agenda of the meeting is already fixed by the Centre without feeling the need to consult the states.
The TMC Chief further said that the Planning Commission was more effective than the Niti Aayog and hence, it should be restored. The Planning Commission would hold regular meetings with state governments which will further help in solving the problems.
Banerjee stated, “I have also written a letter to like-minded chief ministers of opposition parties raising the issue of planning commission be brought back. Given the fact that the Niti Aayog has no financial powers and the power to support state plans, it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting of a body that is bereft of any financial powers.”
She added that her experiences with the Niti Aayog in the last four-and-half years have made her learn that the focus should be on Inter-State Council that was constituted under Article 263 of the Constitution.
This was the first Niti Aayog meeting since the formation of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance at the centre for the second term.