New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked states to learn from the best practices of each other to find solutions to problems and challenges that they face.
In one of its kind interaction with Chief Secretaries of all states and union territories, Modi said that different states were doing exceptionally well in some or the other fields and if their best practices were replicated across India, it could lead to great benefits for the nation.
He urged states to come out of the silos, and work cohesively with the Centre and which each other.
The Prime Minister's remarks came at a national conference of chief secretaries organised by the NITI Aayog on the theme of "States as Drivers for Transforming India".
"There is a lot to learn from the experiences of states which could provide the best solutions to problems and challenges," he said, as per an official statement.
Noting that top government officials have the collective vision and capabilities to overcome challenges, Modi said this makes experience sharing very important.
The Prime Minister said a team of young officers from across states should now deliberate and learn from these best practices, by visiting each state to "help in efficient adoption of best practices across states".
Urging officers to adopt a positive attitude to new initiatives, he said the elected political leadership would always be receptive to new, positive ideas, irrespective of ideology.
Before addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister listened patiently to each one of them as they spoke briefly on one best practice in each of their respective states.
"This is the first time, that the Prime Minister has addressed such a gathering, at such an event. He spent over two-and-a-half hours listening to each chief secretary and then shared his views with them," NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant told reporters.
The best practices presented at the conference included themes such as rural development, skill development, crop insurance, reducing infant mortality, tribal welfare, solid waste management, Direct Benefit Transfer, solar energy and ease of doing business among others, a NITI Aayog statement said.
During his address, the Prime Minister said districts and cities should compete with each other in areas of development and good governance.
He said the whole world had expectations from India and wanted to partner with India which "is a golden opportunity for us".
He urged states to give top priority to "ease of doing business" which, he said, would help states in attracting investment.
On the agriculture sector, the Prime Minister said the use of technology was imperative. He stressed on eliminating wastage in farm produce and focus on food processing.
The Prime Minister said the use of Aadhaar had brought benefit all around, and eliminated leakages. He urged all states to maximize its use "in the interest of good governance".
The Prime Minister said the completion of 75 years of independence in 2022 was opportunity for collective inspiration and for everyone to work in mission mode for all-round development.
During the event, Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha also asked states to promote competition between different districts.
"Competition between states being promoted by the NITI Aayog is very useful. (It) can be used by the states to promote competition between districts," Sinha said.
Kant said that efficiency in governance and administration alone will ensure that India's "worst performing" districts become the best, while its Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said that a strong India can be built through building strong states which could be achieved through "job creation, shift to non-farm jobs (and) large firms with high productivity".
NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy said that states needed to work on rationalisation of schemes in the light of 14th Finance Commission recommendations.