NITI Aayog’s Governing Council Meeting

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    In Context

    • NITI Aayog’s seventh Governing Council meeting, chaired by Hon. Prime Minister was recently concluded in New Delhi.

    More about the meeting

    • Highlights:
      • The Governing Council discussed four key agenda items:
        • Crop diversification and achieving self-sufficiency in pulses, oilseeds and other Agri-commodities;
        • Implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) in school education;
        • Implementation of National Education Policy in higher education; and
        • Urban governance.
    • Key points:
      • Crop diversification:
        • Crop diversification, in particular, was a key point of discussion at the meeting. 
        • India’s dependence on imported edible oils, which currently stands around 50 percent, and how that can be brought down to around 25 percent in the coming years was also discussed at the meeting. 
        • Increasing production of some pulses was also discussed.
          • Although India’s import dependence on pulses is much lower at around 7-8 percent, there is a deficiency of masoor and arhar in the country.
        • The discussion on crop diversification is significant given that there is severe water stress in some of the states. 
      • Agriculture:
        • The need was highlighted for India to focus on modernised agriculture, animal husbandry, and food processing to become self-sufficient and a global leader in the agriculture sector.    
      • Reducing imports:
        • States were advised to focus on promoting their trade, tourism and technology, to reduce their dependence on imports.
      • Urbanisation:
        • Rapid urbanisation, as perceived by Hon. PM can become India’s strength instead of weakness by leveraging technology to ensure ease of living, transparent service delivery, and improvement in the quality of life for every citizen of urban India.   
      • G20:
        • For the first time in the history of G20, India will host the G20 meetings over the year, not only in Delhi but in every State and Union Territory.
        • States are directed to set up dedicated teams for G-20 with a view to deriving maximum possible benefit from the initiative.
    • Several states raised concerns around the following topics: 
      • Minimum support price (MSP) for farmers, 
      • Shortage of IAS officers, 
      • Review of GST and increased allocation of funds for states, etc.
    • National Conference of Chief Secretaries:
      • As part of preparations for this meeting, the National Conference of Chief Secretaries was held in Dharamshala in June 2022 which was the culmination of the six-month-long rigorous exercise by the Centre and States.

    National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog)

    • About:
      • It was set up in 2015 to replace Planning Commission.
      • It is an Executive Body (acts as a think tank and advisory body)
    • Objective: 
      • To foster the spirit of Cooperative and Competitive federalism through structured support initiatives on a continuous basis.
    • Composition of NITI Aayog:
      • Chairperson: Prime Minister of India
      • Governing Council consists of the Chief Ministers of all the States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in India.
        • The NITI Aayog’s governing council is the premier body tasked with evolving a shared vision of national priorities and strategies with the involvement of the States and Union Territories. 
        • It presents a platform to discuss inter-sectoral, inter-departmental and federal issues.
      • Regional Councils will be created to address particular issues and possibilities affecting more than one state.
        • These will be formed for a fixed term and summoned by the PM.
        • These will be chaired by the Chairperson of the NITI Aayog or his nominee.
      • Special invitees: Eminent experts, specialists with relevant domain knowledge, which will be nominated by the Prime Minister.
    • Full-time organizational framework:
      • Prime Minister as the Chairperson:
      • Vice-Chairperson (appointed by the Prime Minister)
      • Members:
        • Full-time
        • Part-time members on a rotational basis: Maximum of 2 members from foremost universities, leading research organizations, and other innovative organizations in an ex-officio capacity.
      • Ex Officio members: 
        • Maximum of 4 members of the Council of Ministers which is to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
      • Chief Executive Officer: 
        • The CEO will be appointed by the Prime Minister for a fixed tenure. He will be in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
    • Key Initiatives and Recent Achievements:
      • Aspirational Districts Scheme.
      • 3 Documents: 3-year action agenda, 7-year medium-term strategy paper and 15-year vision document.
      • Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) programme in India
      • Promoted Zero Budget Natural Farming.
      • Promoting ‘Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati’ programme under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
      • Village Storage Scheme

    Source: TH