New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a crucial meeting of NITI Aayog's fifth Governing Council on Saturday. Today's meeting will focus on issues like the drought situation, farm distress, rain-water harvesting and preparedness for Kharif crops.
The five-point agenda for the meeting also includes aspirational districts programme, transforming agriculture and security related issues with special focus on left-wing extremism (LWE) districts, an official statement said.
The meeting, which will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, will be attended by chief ministers, lieutenant governors of Union Territories, several union ministers and senior government officials.
This will also be the first Governing Council meeting of the new NDA government led by PM Narendra Modi.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has refused to attend the meeting, saying it is "fruitless" as the Niti Aayog has no financial powers to support state plans.
Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao also won't attend the meeting today as he is said to be busy with preparations for the inauguration of an irrigation project in the state.
KCR is yet to meet PM Modi after the national election results. He had also skipped PM Modi's oath-taking ceremony last month.
During today's meeting, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is also expected to raise the demand for special status to his state. Kumar, a BJP ally, has considerable presence in the Lok Sabha. He has been pressing for the status for many years now.
The Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states are expected to raise key farmers issues and also share the benefits of the loan waiver scheme implemented by them at the NITI Aayog meeting, according to PTI.
Headed by the Prime Minister, the Governing Council includes ministers of Finance, Home, Defence, Agriculture, Commerce and Rural Development, besides state chief ministers and Niti Aayog vice chairman, CEO and members.
The Governing Council reviews the action taken on the agenda items of the previous meeting and deliberates upon the future developmental priorities. So far, four meetings of the Governing Council have been held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister.
The first meeting of the Governing Council was held on February 8, 2015, at which the Prime Minister laid down the key mandates of Niti Aayog such as fostering cooperative federalism and addressing national issues through active participation of the states.
The second meeting on July 15, 2015, reviewed the progress made by the three sub-groups of chief ministers and the two task forces.
In the third meeting on April 23, 2017, PM Modi had pitched for conducting simultaneous elections of the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies and shifting to a January-December fiscal year.
The fourth meeting of the council on June 17, 2018, deliberated upon measures taken to double farmers' income and the progress of the government's flagship schemes.
(With Agency inputs)