West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday announced she will not attend the Niti Ayog meeting scheduled on June 15. In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Banerjee wrote, “Given the fact that the Niti Ayog has no financial powers and the power to support State Plans, it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting of a body that is bereft of any financial powers.”
The West Bengal chief minister had skipped Niti Ayog meetings earlier too expressing her displeasure over the dissolution of Planning Commission and the creation of a new structure.
Banerjee also advocated for the creation of an Inter-State Council to strengthen cooperative federalism.
“The experience of the last four and half years we had with the Niti Ayog, brings me back to my earlier suggestion to you that we focus on the Inter-State Council constituted under Article 263 of the constitution, with appropriate modifications, to enable the ISC to discharge its augmented range of functions as the nodal entity of the country. This will deepen cooperative federalism and strengthen federal polity,” Banerjee said.
She also wrote, “Unfortunately, a new body called NITI Ayog was formed on January 1, 2015, in place of Planning Commission, without assigning any financial powers to assist the States, based on their need assessment, as was being done by the erstwhile Planning Commission. Furthermore, the new body also lacks the power of supporting the Annual Plan of the States.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the fifth meeting of Niti Aayog’s Governing Council on June 15