The fifth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed how India can achieve US $5 trillion economy by 2024.
Setting the tone of the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged states to increase their economy by 2 to 2.5 times by recognising their core competence and work towards raising GDP targets right from the district level as it will provide boost to both income and employment.
Noting that the export sector is an important element in the progress of developing countries, he said both the centre and the states should work towards growth in exports, in order to raise per capita incomes. He said there is an immense untapped export potential in several states, including the North Eastern States. He said a thrust on export promotion at the state level will provide a boost to both income and employment.
The Prime Minister also called upon to undertake foundational reforms in the agri-economy, leading to a complete transformation of the agriculture sector in India. The core agenda items included the need to review the implementation of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, ensuring fair remuneration for the farmers, streamlining of supply, driving more investment into the sector and predictability of policy at national and regional levels.
Reiterating the Union Government’s commitment to double incomes of farmers by 2022, he said this requires focus on fisheries, animal husbandry, horticulture, fruits and vegetables. He said that the benefits of PM-KISAN – KisanSammanNidhi – and other farmer centric schemes should reach the intended beneficiaries well within time.
Noting that there is need for structural reform in agriculture, the Prime Minister spoke of the need to boost corporate investment, strengthen logistics and provide ample market support. He said the food processing sector should grow at a faster pace than foodgrain production.
The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of the states towards water conservation and urged all states to streamline and implement innovative water management measures. The creation of the Ministry of ‘Jal Shakti’ is a key step by the Union Government to develop an integrated and holistic perspective on water as a developmental resource.
Many States such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Gujarat and Karnataka have adopted good practices in water conservation and rainwater harvesting. Some innovative steps include the Jalyukt Shivarin Maharashtra which made 11,000 villages drought free, Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavalamban Abhiyaan which resulted in five feet rise in groundwater in 21 districts, and Mission Kakatiya in Telangana which irrigates 19 Lakh Acres. Similarly, Sujalam Sufalam in Gujarat and artificial recharge scheme in Karnataka show that determined action produces good results. The spirit of the meeting was to build on the strength of every state so that each state can learn from the innovation and best practices of other states.
The Prime Minister also reaffirmed the commitment of the Government to combat Left Wing Extremism (LWE), noting that many of the aspirational districts are affected by Naxal violence. He assured the Council that the Ministry of Home Affairs will coordinate with all affected states to decisively end LWE violence and drive the agenda of development in these regions.
He also informed the Council that there has also been an equally strong focus on developing road and telecom infrastructure in these areas. About 11,000 km of roads are being constructed at the cost of Rs 18,000 crore of which 5,500 km of road has already been completed. In order to improve telecom connectivity, 2,335 mobile towers have also been installed and in next phase, 4,072 towers costing Rs 11,000 Crore will be installed.
On the health sector, the Prime Minister said that several targets are to kept in mind, to be achieved by 2022. He also mentioned the target of eliminating TB by 2025. The Prime Minister urged those States who have not implemented PMJAY under Ayushman Bharat so far, to come onboard this scheme at the earliest. He said health and wellness should be the focal point of every decision.
The Prime Minister said that the mining sector can provide significant employment opportunities. He said that bottlenecks in operationalization of mines continue to exist in several states and NITI Aayog is working on these issues.