Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a strong case for modernising agriculture, animal husbandry and food processing to help the country become self-sufficient and a global leader in the agriculture sector.
The Prime Minister also asked the states to focus on promoting 3Ts -- Trade, Tourism, Technology -- with a view to reducing imports and increasing exports, said an official release after the seventh meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog.
"We should encourage people to use local goods wherever possible," he said, adding, 'Vocal for local' is not the agenda of an individual political party but a common goal.
India, he said, needs to "focus on modernized agriculture, animal husbandry, and food processing to become self-sufficient and a global leader in the agriculture sector." He further said that rapid urbanization can become India's strength instead of weakness by leveraging technology to ensure ease of living, transparent service delivery, and improvement in the quality of life for every citizen.
The Prime Minister also appreciated the collective efforts of all the states in the spirit of cooperative federalism in the fight against the Covid pandemic.
"Every state played a crucial role according to its strength and contributed to India's fight against Covid. This led to India emerging as an example for the developing nations to look up to as a global leader," he said.
"For the first time in India's 75 years of independence, all of India's Chief Secretaries met together in one place and deliberated on issues of national importance for three days. This collective process led to the development of the agenda for this meeting." The Prime Minister underlined the need for collective action to increase the collection of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) saying that though the realisation has improved, "the potential is much more... and it is crucial for strengthening our economic position and becoming a USD 5 trillion economy." He said that the seventh meeting was a culmination of months of rigorous brainstorming and consultations between the Centre and States to identify national priorities.
In his concluding remarks, Prime Minister Modi said the NITI Aayog will study the states' concerns, challenges, and best practices and subsequently plan the way forward.
The issues discussed in this meeting will define the national priorities for the next 25 years, he said, adding, "the seeds we sow today will define the fruits reaped by India in 2047." The Prime Minister also spoke about India's G20 presidency in 2023, saying "we should develop a mass movement around G20. This will allow us to identify the best talent available in the country." He also said there should be a dedicated team for G20 in the States to derive the maximum possible benefit from the initiative.
G20 is a grouping of developed and developing nations and India will be the chair of the grouping in 2023.
This was the first physical meeting of the Governing Council since the onset of the pandemic, with the 2021 meeting held via video conferencing.
The meeting was attended by 23 Chief Ministers, 3 Lieutenant Governors and 2 Administrators and Union Ministers and moderated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Telangana Chief Minister K C Rao boycotted the meeting, while Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar could not attend the meeting as he was recovering from Covid-19.
The Governing Council discussed four key agenda items -- crop diversification and achieving self-sufficiency in pulses, oilseeds and other agri-commodities; implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) in school education; implementation of NEP in higher education; and urban governance.
Speaking at the meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, said, "The G20 Presidency presents a great opportunity and a great responsibility. For the first time in the history of G20, India will host the G20 meetings over the year, not only in Delhi but in every State and Union Territory." Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan spoke about the New Education Policy (NEP) and highlighted initiatives undertaken to boost learning outcomes, capacity-building of teachers, and skilling.
NITI Aayog vice-chairman Suman Bery said that combined efforts of the Centre and States were needed to realize the vision of a resurgent India post the pandemic.
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