At the fourth meetingof NITI Aayog's Governing Council on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly defended the NDA's 'cooperative federalism-based' approach to governance, asserting that under his rule, the states had received Rs 11 lakh crore, which he said was Rs six lakh crore more than the previous government.
Modi sought the cooperation of the states in realising the aim of doubling the farmers' income. The prime minister also asked for recommendations from states on the further convergence of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) with agriculture.
In his opening remarks, he assured the chief ministers from flood-affected states that the Union government would provide all assistance to them, to deal with the flood situation currently affecting parts of the country.
He also discussed the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the national-level health insurance scheme which has the ambitious aim of providing health coverage to almost 10 crore people. The prime minister said that 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres are being constructed under the Ayushman Bharat programme. He said about 10 crore families will be provided with health assurance worth Rs 5 lakh every year.
Although Rs 10,000 crore was earmarked for this purpose in the Union Budget, ways to fund the scheme have not yet been disclosed by the Centre.
The prime minister also said that schemes such as Mudra Yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana and Stand Up India, are helping in greater financial inclusion. He emphasised the need for tackling economic imbalances on priority.
'Target: double-digit growth'
Modi said that the next challenge before the government was to take the economic growth rate of the country to double digits, for which many important steps would have to be taken.
He observed that the Indian economy has grown at a healthy rate of 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017-18. He added that the challenge now is to take this growth rate to double digits, for which many more important steps have to be taken.
Modi said that the world expects India to become a five trillion dollar economy soon. He encouraged states to give fresh ideas to the Finance Commission, for incentivising outcome-based allocations, and expenditure correction.
On agriculture, the prime minister said that corporate investment in this sector is very low in India. He said States should formulate policies that promote corporate investment in areas such as warehousing, transportation, value addition and food processing etc.
The prime minister also said that mining blocks, which have been successfully auctioned, should start production at the earliest. He urged states to take steps in this regard. He said District Mineral Foundations will help the poor and the tribals in a big way.