Hyderabad: NITI Aayog, the apex public policy think tank of the Government of India on Saturday responded to the comments made by Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and called his scathing comments on the body ‘unfortunate’.
“NITI Aayog was set up as an Institution with the mandate of cooperative federalism with a premise that strong states make a strong nation. 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. 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,” NITI Aayog said in a press note.
KCR on Saturday said that NITI Aayog is only a namesake organisation that does not serve any purpose. He declared that in a mark of strong protest, he will be boycotting the annual NITI Aayog meeting on Sunday.
The chief minister said this at a press conference held at Pragathi Bhavan on Saturday. On the same day, the chief minister also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister about the reasons for his boycott.
“A delegation led by Vice Chairman NITI Aayog met the Telangana Chief Minister in Hyderabad on 21st January 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,” the apex body said.
“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 Centre 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 lengthy deliberation wherein all States/ UTs including the Chief Secretary of Telangana participated. The allegation of Hon’ble CM Telangana that states were not co-opted in preparation of the agenda is incorrect,” it further said.
In the press note, NITI Aayog also provided details of the contributions of the union government to the state of Telangana. “With reference to in the water sector, over the last 4 years, Government of India allocated Rs.3982 core under the Jal Jeevan Mission for the State of Telangana. However, the state chose to draw only Rs. 200 crores. In addition, Rs 1195 crores were released to Telangana under PMKSY-AIBP-CADWM during 2014-2015 to 2021-2022,” it informed.
“The government of India has consistently been 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 crores in 2015-16 to Rs. 4,42,781 crores in 2022-23, i.e. more than double during this period, in addition to the substantial hike in awards under the Fourteenth Finance Commission from 32% to 42%. Enough flexibility has also been built in for the utilization of funds allocated under CSS,” it said.
The body called the non-participation of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in the Governing Council meeting to be held on August 7th as ‘unfortunate’. “The Governing Council is a forum where the highest political leadership in the country at centre and state levels deliberate on key development-related issues and agree on appropriate outcome-oriented solutions for national development,” NITI Aayog remarked.