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NITI terms Telangana CM’s decision to boycott governing council meet ‘unfortunate’

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New Delhi:  NITI Aayog on Saturday termed Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to boycott the Governing Council meeting on Sunday ‘unfortunate’.

Rao has decided to boycott the meeting of the Governing Council, which will be chaired Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as a mark of protest against the alleged discriminatory policies of the Centre towards the states.

“It is unfortunate that the Chief Minister of Telangana has chosen not to participate in the Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog to be held on August 7,” the Aayog said.

The Governing Council, it added, is a forum where the highest political leadership in the country at the Centre and State levels deliberate on key development-related issues and agree on appropriate outcome oriented solutions for national development.

The Telangana Chief Minister on Saturday told the Prime Minister that he will be boycotting the meeting as a mark of protest against the present ‘discriminating’ trend of the Centre towards the states.

In a strong-worded letter to Modi, KCR, as Rao is known, said India as a strong nation can develop only when the states develop.

“… I do not find it useful to attend the 7th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog scheduled to be held on August 7, 2022 and I am staying away from it as a mark of strong protest against the present trend of central government to discriminate against the states and not treating them as equal partners in our collective effort to make India a strong and developed country,” Rao said in the letter narrating a host of reasons for his boycotting the meet.

NITI Aayog in a statement dismissed the charges levelled by Rao.

The Aayog said a delegation led by its Vice Chairman 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,” it added.

The statement pointed out that 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 allegation of Hon’ble CM Telangana that states were not co-opted in preparation of agenda is incorrect,” it said.

The statement noted that  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,” it said, adding that in the last year alone more than 30 meetings have been held with the chief ministers of states by the Vice Chairman, and members of NITI Aayog.

The Prime Minister will chair the seventh Governing Council meeting of the NITI Aayog which will discuss various issues such as crop diversification and implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP).

The Council, the apex body of NITI Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of Union Territories and several Union ministers.

The prime minister is the Chairman of NITI Aayog. This will be the first physical meeting of the Council after July 2019.

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