Indian Prime
Minister Narendra Modi is chairing the seventh governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog, India’s premier planning body that replaced the planning
commission, on Sunday. The meeting is the first in-person governing council
meeting since July 2019. The Governing Council of the NITI Aayog comprises chief
ministers of all Indian states as well as Lieutenant Governors of Union

The agenda
of the seventh governing council meeting includes crop diversification and
achieving self-sufficiency in production of pulses and oilseeds. Additionally,
the meeting will also discuss the implementation of the new National Education
(NEP) and issues related to urban governance.

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The public
policy meeting, however, is not devoid of politics. Two chief ministers – K Chandrasekhar
, chief minister of Telangana, and Nitish Kumar – chief minister of Bihar,
are missing from the critical policy meet. KCR’s absence and its reason were
well known prior to the meeting.

In a letter
to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Telangana CM wrote that he was not attending
the meeting in protest against what he called the Centre’s alleged ‘discrimination’
against states like Telangana. He further attacked the Modi government writing:
The NITI Aayog was started “with the lofty objective of bringing the states on
the same page as the Centre.”

“Because of
no planning and no spirit of cooperative federalism, the country is passing
through a most difficult phase with unprecedented problems of falling rupee
value, high inflation, skyrocketing prices and increasing unemployment, coupled
with low economic growth.”

“I do not
find it useful to attend (the meeting)… and I am staying away from it as a mark
of strong protest against the present trend of central government to discriminate
against the state and not treating them as equal partners in our collective
effort to make India a strong and developed country,” KCR, the Telangana
Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) boss wrote.

Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar, on the other hand, is missing from the meeting due to
health troubles. The 71-year-old Janata Dal (United) leader is recovering from
a recent bout of COVID and has chosen to stay away from the governing council

The seventh NITI Aayog governing council meeting
is taking place at Rashtrapati Bhawan’s cultural centre in New Delhi.