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Didi says no to Niti Aayog meeting, calls it ‘fruitless’

Banerjee, who wrote to the prime minister about Niti Aayog’s lack of 'financial power', also sought the return of Planning Commission.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 08, 2019, 09.11 AM IST
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Mamata-Banerjee
Earlier too, Banerjee had skipped meetings of the policy think-tank, expressing her displeasure over the dissolution of Planning Commission and creation of a new structure.
Calling Niti Aayog a “powerless institution’ and terming the meetings “fruitless and mere eyewash”, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday refused to attend the think-tank’s meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 15.

Banerjee, who wrote to the prime minister about Niti Aayog’s lack of “financial power”, also sought the return of Planning Commission.

“Given the fact that the Nit Aayog has no financial powers to support state plans, it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting of a body that is bereft of any financial powers,” Banerjee said in a three-page letter.

This is going to be the Niti Aayog’s first meeting after the Modi government got a second term. Modi on Thursday approved the reconstitution of Niti Aayog, dropping Bibek Debroy while retaining other full-time members and including home minister Amit Shah as an ex-officio member.

Earlier too, Banerjee had skipped meetings of the policy think-tank.

Banerjee said she had objected to the decision of the Planning Commission being dissolved in 2014. It was abolished by in 2015.

“State governments have no voice in this system. They can’t even discuss issues. It is Niti Aayog that decides the agenda and which discussions can be held. So what is the point of attending such a meeting,” Banerjee said. She said she had forwarded the letter to some chief ministers of Opposition parties.

She said proposals for the Planning Commission came from the grassroots of every state. These proposals were assimilated for a bottom-up approach where the panel would hold regular meetings with state governments to solve problems and discuss resource mobilisation. “On the other hand, the Niti Aayog does not have any financial power and lacks the power of supporting the annual plan of states,” Banerjee said.

“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...” she wrote.

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