In a major development, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to the Prime Minister saying that she will not attend the Niti Aayog meeting scheduled on June 15. On June 15, the Prime Minister will chair the first meeting of the government think-tank the Niti Aayog after forming the new government.
Informing about the meeting, official sources had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the fifth meeting of Niti Aayog's Governing Council on June 15. Chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials were scheduled to be present in the meeting. In the meeting the governing council is expected to discuss important subjects, including major issues concerning water management, agriculture, and aspirational district programme, according to official sources.
Headed by the Prime Minister, the Governing Council meets regularly, and its first meeting took place on February 8, 2015. The second meeting of the council on July 15, 2015, reviewed the progress made by the three sub-groups of chief ministers and the two task forces.
West Bengal Mamata Banerjee is in loggerheads with the BJP since the party has started making inroads in the West Bengal. In the Lok Sabha elections, BJP won 18 seats compared to Trinamool's 22 seats. Her decision to not attend the meeting of the Niti Aayog comes a day after she accused the BJP of murdering a TMC worker in North 24 Pargana district.
Earlier, in the third meeting of the council on April 23, 2017, Modi had pitched for conducting simultaneous elections of the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies and shifting to a January-December fiscal year. The fourth meeting of the council on June 17, 2018, deliberated upon measures taken to double farmers' income and the progress of government's flagship schemes.
The NITI Aayog (Hindi for Policy Commission) is a policy think tank of the Government of India, established with the aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and to enhance cooperative federalism by fostering the involvement of State Governments of India in the economic policy-making process. It was established in 2015, by the NDA government, to replace the Planning Commission. The Prime Minister is the Ex-officio chairman. The permanent members of the governing council are all the state Chief Ministers, along with the Chief Ministers of Delhi and Puducherry, the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar, and a vice chairman nominated by the Prime Minister. In addition, temporary members are selected from leading universities and research institutions. These members include a chief executive officer, four ex-official members and two part-time members.