After West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Amarinder Singh, her Punjab counterpart, will also give a miss to the Saturday’s meeting of the NITI Aayog’s governing council to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reports said.
According to news agencies ANI and PTI, the Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh is unwell and state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal will attend the meeting in his place. “The Punjab chief minister is indisposed and is likely to skip the Niti Aayog’s meeting. The state finance minister will attend in his place,” PTI quoted a source as saying.
West Bengal chief minister Banerjee had earlier skipped the NITI Aayog’s meetings, saying it was a “fruitless” exercise and alleged that the body has “no financial power” and cannot support the state plans. “Mamata Banerjee may not attend the Niti Aayog’s February 20 meeting,” a senior leader of her Trinamool Congress had said earlier, according to PTI.
The Prime Minister will chair Saturday’s meeting and issues related to agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and human resource development, service delivery at the grassroots level and health and nutrition will be discussed, according to an official statement. The NITI Aayog’s governing council, a platform to discuss inter-sectoral, inter-departmental and federal issues, includes all chief ministers of all states, lieutenant governors of Union territories, several Union ministers and senior government officials.
A representative of Ladakh will also attend the meeting, as will Jammu and Kashmir’s as Union territories for the first, the statement said. Other Union territories headed by administrators have also been invited to join, the release said.
The meeting will also be attended by the ex-officio members of the governing council, Union ministers, vice chairperson Rajiv Kumar, members and CEO of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant, and other senior government officials.
NITI Aayog’s governing council, which first met on February 8, 2015, meets regularly. However, the council did not meet last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.