Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday declined the NITI Aayog’s invitation to attend a meeting of its Governing Council to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a letter written to Modi, Banerjee said that NITI Ayog has no financial powers to support the state-run schemes and it is fruitless for her to attend the meeting.
“Given the fact that the NITI Ayog has no financial powers and the power to support State Plans, it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting of a body that is bereft of any financial powers,” the letter reads.
The NITI Aayog has called a meeting of its Governing Council on June 15. Letters to the various heads of the state had been written by the CEO of NITI Aayog for the same.
Mamata asked the Centre to give additional powers to the Inter-State Council (ISC) and make it the “nodal entity of the country” by adding the role of National Development Council to it.
“The experience of the last four and a half years we had, with the NITI Aayog, brings me back to my earlier suggestion to you that we focus on the ISC constituted under Article 263 of the Constitution. With appropriate modifications, to enable ISC to discharge its augmented range of functions as the nodal entity of the country.”
“This will deepen cooperative federalism and strengthen federal polity. May I also reiterate that the National Development Council which has been given a quiet burial, may also be subsumed within the broadened constitutional body of ISC,” it added.
Mamata added that from the very start she has been against the decision to dissolve the Planning Commission and formation of the NITI Aayog and had also written a letter to Prime Minister Modi concerning the same in 2014.
“I wrote you a letter dated December 4, 2014, expressing my concern regarding the dissolution of the Planning Commission and the creation of a new structure. Since the Planning Commission had played a significant role in working with the States and in even supporting the restructuring of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, the States had more flexibility.”
“In fact. I had proposed in my letter to you that instead of setting up a new body in place of the Planning Commission, it may be more appropriate to assign the decision making responsibilities of the Planning Commission to the ISC which is a constitutional entity created under Article 263 of the Constitution formed by a Presidential Order dated May 28, 1990,” it read.
The political battle between BJP”> BJP and TMC has intensified after the announcement of general elections result. In an election that was marred by violence, the BJP”> BJP made deep inroads into the Trinamool Congress territory in West Bengal by winning 18 seats in Lok Sabha and cutting the TMC to size by limiting its win to only 22 seats against 34 it had won in the previous Lok Sabha elections.