Saturday , 19 October 2019
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PM asks states to focus on core competencies


New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said the goal of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024 is challenging but surely achievable, as he asked states to focus on their core competencies and work towards increasing the GDP right from the district level.

Addressing the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, Modi also announced setting up of a high-powered committee comprising some chief ministers and Union ministers on structural reforms in agriculture.

The meeting which was held in a “very positive atmosphere” was attended by senior Union ministers and almost all the chief ministers, except for Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal) and K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana).

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh could not attend the meeting due to health reasons. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur too could not attend the meeting as he was in Germany.

Banerjee had earlier said she would not attend the meeting saying NITI Aayog is a “fruitless” body, as it has no financial powers. Rao did not come as he was busy with preparations for the launch of the ambitious Rs 80,000 crore Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project that would end water woes in the state.

After the meeting, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar told reporters that composition and terms of reference about the high-powered committee on agriculture reforms would be announced in the next few days. The committee,

he added, would be submitting its report in two-three months.

On the absence of the Bengal Chief Minister, Kumar said it is regrettable that she did not come, as her contribution to the meeting would have been helpful.

In his inaugural address, the Prime Minister also underlined the need for taking effective steps to tackle drought in various parts of the country.

According to an official release, Modi recalled the recent general elections as the world’s largest democratic exercise and said that it is now time for everyone to work for the development of India. He spoke of a collective fight against poverty, unemployment, drought, flood, pollution, corruption and violence.

The Prime Minister said that everyone has a common goal of achieving a New India by 2022. He described Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and PM Awaas Yojana as illustrations of what the Centre and the states can accomplish together.

Stressing that the focus should be on collective responsibility for achieving short-term and long-term goals, Modi said the goal to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024, is “challenging, but can surely be achieved.”

The size of India’s economy was estimated at $2.75 trillion at end-March 2019.

States, he added, should recognise their core competency and work towards raising GDP targets right from the district level. He also stressed on increasing exports from the country.

Amid drought-like situation in several parts of the country, Modi called for effective steps to tackle drought and emphasised that “per-drop, more-crop” strategy should be promoted. India has faced deficit monsoon rains for the last five years and water management has become a major issue.

The release further said Modi reiterated the Union government’s commitment to double incomes of farmers by 2022. To achieve this, he said there should be a focus on fisheries, animal husbandry, horticulture, fruits and vegetables. He said that the benefits of PM-KISAN – KisanSammanNidhi – and other farmer-centric schemes should reach the intended beneficiaries well within time.

Noting that there is a need for structural reform in agriculture, Modi spoke of the need to boost corporate investment, strengthen logistics, and provide ample market support. He said the food processing sector should grow at a faster pace than foodgrain production.

Referring to the left-wing extremism, Modi said the battle against Naxal violence is now in a decisive phase. “He said violence will be dealt with firmly, even as development proceeds in a fast-paced and balanced manner,” the release said quoting the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister urged those states that have not implemented PMJAY under Ayushman Bharat, so far, to come onboard this scheme at the earliest. He said health and wellness should be the focal point of every decision.

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