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NITI Aayog meet: NE states for continuation of Spl category status, 90:10 loan-grant formula
New Delhi: Chief Ministers of Opposition-ruled states mostly of North East including Meghalaya, while participating at the first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog on Sunday, have insisted on continuation of status of special category states, the 90:10 loan-grant formula and Non-lapsable pool of fund for the region.
Participating in the discussion, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that the vital annual plan of each state should continue even though the Planning Commission has been done away with. “The Centre should remain an active player in the planning and implementation of any regional agenda,” he said.
Sangma advocated for co-operative federalism between the Centre and the states with investment strategy which he said will help overcome development gaps. “This will also help the less developed states like that of North East to catch up with the rest of the country,” he said.
Stressing on special investment strategies for the Northeastern region, he said that the Centrally-sponsored schemes should be limited under Union list and important sectors should be brought under concurrent list.
On the other hand, the chief ministers of the NE region also urged the NITI Aayog to continue with the Look East Policy which will bring the region and the country closer to the South East Asia.
The Centre should continue to treat the remote and backward NE region on a different footing as done in the past, the chief ministers said. “North East specific schemes like NLPCR and institutions like NEC and DoNER should be strengthened,” they said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said it is imperative that the relatively backward states should be first brought up to match the level of the comparatively developed states. “I also strongly feel that our development agenda should include all communities, giving special thrust and emphasis on those which require special focus and attention,” he said.
Earlier, emphasising on the need to empower the states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the states to forge a model of “cooperative federalism” to resolve differences even as he flagged poverty as India’s biggest challenge.
He also held a separate meeting with all the Chief Ministers of the North East prior to the first meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog at his residence.
NITI Aayog or ‘National Institution for Transforming India’ Aayog is a policy think-tank which has replaced the Planning Commission and aims to involve the states in economic policy-making.