PUDUCHERRY: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to her Puducherry counterpart V Narayanasamy, attaching the copy of her letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that she would not attend the Niti Aayog meeting slated for June 15 and set to be presided by Prime minister Narendra Modi as the meeting would be a fruitless exercise since Niti Aayog was ‘bereft of financial powers’.
Mamata, in the letter to the Puducherry Chief Minister, maintained that Niti Aayog, unlike Planning Commission which it had replaced, had ‘no financial powers’ and hence could not support schemes of States. Niti Aayog is academic in nature and will not serve the purpose. Planning Commission was the forum in which both the State and the Centre had coordinated for financial planning, budget and hence planning commission has to be restored, Mamata said.
The letter is seen as Mamata gathering support for the restoration of Planning Commission by the Central government, as she would have written to other Chief Ministers of non-NDA ruled states.
Chief Minister Narayanasamy said he had also received an invitation to attend the NITI Aayog meeting on June 15, but had not taken any decision on his participation. “I will take a call as per the decision of Chief Ministers of other Congress-ruled states,” he said.
Being a Union Territory, Puducherry is dependent on the Centre for funds and also needs approval for the budget before presenting in the Assembly. A vote on account to meet the expenditure for five months of April, May, June, July and August of this financial year amounting to `2,703.63 crore was passed in the Territorial Assembly in March. In the meantime, the government has to prepare a draft budget and get the approval from the Home and Finance Ministry before presenting in the Assembly.
In the past, both Lieutenant Governors and Chief Ministers of the Union Territory of Puducherry had attended the NITI Aayog meetings.