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Mamata still at odds with Centre, to skip NITI Aayog’s ‘fruitless’ meet

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on June 07, 2019 Published on June 07, 2019

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee   -  PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has yet again snubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as she refused to attend the Niti Aayog meet scheduled for June 15.

Mamata questioned the powers of the think tank and claimed that its meetings are “fruitless”.

In a three-page long letter, the Chief Minister informed the Prime Minister that she won’t be attending the meet.

“Given the fact that the NITI Aayog has no financial powers and the power to support State plans, it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting,” she has said in the letter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved the reconstitution of government think tank Niti Aayog, dropping Bibek Debroy while retaining other full-time members, including Home Minister Amit Shah as an ex officio member.

Mamata also raised objection to the dissolving of planning commission. She compared between the functioning of the NITI Aayog and the Planning Commission. The latter was abolished by the Modi government in 2015.

According to Banerjee, the proposals for the Planning Commission came from the grassroots of every State that included the Panchayat system. These proposals were assimilated and there was a bottom-up approach where the body would hold regular meetings with State governments to solve problems and discuss resource mobilisation.

On the other hand, the NITI Aayog does not have any financial powers and “lacks the power to supporting the annual plan of States,” the Chief Minister said.

“Unfortunately, a new body called NITI Aayog was formed on 1st January, 2015, in place of Planning Commission, without assigning any financial powers to assist the States...” she said.

Mamata has also claimed that there were several reports where former bosses of the Niti Aayog have made statements demanding that the think tank be given power to allocate funds.

The TMC chief has suggested that an “inter-State council” be set-up with “appropriate modifications” so that the council can discharge its functions and “strengthen federal polity”.

Published on June 07, 2019

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