India News | Think tank created with mandate of cooperative federalism, NITI Ayog responds to KCR allegations

New Delhi [India]August 6 (ANI): NITI Aayog said on Saturday that the public policy think tank was established as an institution with a mandate of cooperative federalism with the premise that strong states make for a strong nation.

NITI Aayog was responding to allegations by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao that the Center is not treating states as equal partners in efforts to make India a developed country.

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Earlier on Saturday, KCR wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he would boycott NITI Aayog’s seventh board meeting, scheduled for August 7, in protest against the Centre’s alleged blatant discrimination against States including Telangana.

“It is regrettable that the Honorable Chief Minister of Telangana has chosen not to attend the NITI Aayog Board Meeting to be held on August 7. The Board of Directors is a forum where the most senior leaders policies at the Center and State levels deliberate on key development issues and agree on appropriate results-oriented solutions for national development,” NITI Aayog added.

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NITI Aayog in his statement said a number of measures have already been put in place to work closely with states.

In the past year alone, more than 30 meetings have been held with chief ministers of states by NITI Vice President/members Aayog, according to the statement.

These meetings resolved a number of issues regarding the states with various central ministries and paved the way for greater collaboration between NITI Aayog and the states, the statement added, the press release said.

A delegation led by Vice President NITI Aayog met with the Chief Minister of Telangana in Hyderabad on January 21, 2021, to discuss development issues concerning the state. More recently, despite NITI Aayog’s requests for a meeting, the chief minister failed to respond, the statement said.

The Government of India through all Ministries as well as the Prime Minister’s Office has interacted with States/UTs on all matters of national importance. Specifically, in preparation for the Board meeting on August 7, 2022, detailed consultations between the Center and the States, including Telangana, took place, resulting in the first National Conference of Chief Secretaries which was held in Dharamsala in June 2022.

The conference was the culmination of six-month deliberations in which all States/UTs, including the Chief Secretary of Telangana, participated. CM Telangana’s allegation that states were not co-opted in the preparation of the agenda is incorrect.

As for the water sector, over the past four years, the Indian government has allocated Rs 3,982 Crore under the Jal Jeevan Mission for Telangana. However, the state opted to draw only Rs 200 crore. Additionally, Rs 1,195 crore was disbursed to Telangana under PMKSY-AIBP-CADWM from 2014-2015 to 2021-2022.

The Government of India has always supported the States in financial matters including flagship projects/programmes of national importance. The overall allocation under the centrally sponsored schemes has increased from Rs. the substantial increase in allocations within the framework of the Fourteenth Finance Committee from 32% to 42%. Sufficient flexibility has also been provided for the use of funds allocated under the CSS. (ANI)

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Virginia S. Braud