The NITI Aayog on Saturday said that the public policy think tank was set up as an institution with the mandate of cooperative federalism with a premise that strong states make a strong nation.
NITI Aayog was responding to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s allegations of the Center not treating states as equal partners in efforts to make India a developed country.
Earlier on Saturday, KCR wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he will be boycotting the seventh Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog, scheduled to be held on August 7, as a mark of protest against the Centre’s alleged blatant discrimination against states including Telangana.
“It is unfortunate that the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Telangana has chosen not to participate in the Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog to be held on 7th August. The Governing Council is a forum where the highest political leaders in the country at the Center and State levels deliberate on key development-related issues and agree on appropriate outcome-oriented solutions for national development,” added NITI Aayog.
NITI Aayog in its statement said that a number of measures have already been put in place to work closely with states.
In the last year alone, more than 30 meetings have been held with the Chief Ministers of states by the Vice Chairman/Members of NITI Aayog, as per the statement.
These meetings have resolved a number of issues pertaining to the states with various Central Ministries and paved the way for greater collaboration between NITI Aayog and states, added the statement, stated the press release.
A delegation led by Vice Chairman NITI Aayog met the Telangana Chief Minister in Hyderabad on January 21, 2021, to discuss development issues pertaining to the State. More recently, despite requests made by NITI Aayog for a meeting, the Chief Minister did not respond, as per the statement.
The government of India through all the Ministries as well as the office of the Prime Minister has been interacting with States/UTs on all issues of national importance. Specifically, in preparation for the August 7, 2022, Governing Council meeting, detailed consultations between the Center and States, including Telangana, were held resulting in the first National Chief Secretaries Conference held in Dharamshala in June 2022.
The conference was a culmination of six-month long deliberations in which all States/UTs including the Chief Secretary of Telangana participated. The allegation of CM Telangana that states were not co-opted in preparation of the agenda is incorrect.
With reference to the water sector, over the last four years, the Government of India allocated Rs 3,982 crore under the Jal Jeevan Mission for Telangana. However, the state chose to draw only Rs 200 crore. In addition, Rs 1,195 crore were released to Telangana under PMKSY-AIBP-CADWM during 2014-2015 to 2021-2022.
The government of India has been consistently supporting states in financial matters including flagship schemes/programmes of national importance. Overall allocation under Centrally Sponsored Schemes has increased from Rs. 2,03,740 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 4,42,781 crores in 2022-23, ie more than double during this period, in addition to the substantial hike in awards under the Fourteenth Finance Commission from 32 percent to 42 percent. Enough flexibility has also been built in for the utilization of funds allocated under CSS.
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