PM asks states to speed up GST legislation to build a new India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called upon state governments to work with the union government, as ''Team India,'' to build the India of the dreams of our freedom fighters by 2022, the 75th anniversary of independence.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing the 3rd governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog, in New Delhi on 23 April 2017  

Modi also called for legislative arrangements at the state-level for a faster roll-out of the goods and services tax (GST) regime that would herald a real common market in the country.

Chairing the third meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, the prime minister asked states, local governments and all government and non-government organisations to decide goals for 2022, and work in mission mode towards achieving them.

He sought the chief ministers' views on the three-year agenda prepared by NITI Aayog, which emphasises reforms in governance and taxes, with higher spending on health and education.

Its 15-year vision document envisages tripling the country's real (adjusted for inflation) gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita income by 2031-32 (See: NITI Aayog outlines 15-year vision document).

If GDP grows at this rate, everyone should ideally have access to at least a two-wheeler and an air conditioner in 15 years, the document says.

The PM was also in favour of putting in place the same start and closing dates for a Pay Commission and a Finance Commission. He also suggested that states should check institutions from encroaching on each other's domain.

Describing the discussions at the meeting as constructive, the prime minister said that the circulated vision document is a draft, and all suggestions given by the chief ministers will be taken into account before finalising it. He laid emphasis on good governance and said it leads to optimum utilisation of resources, even when resources are less than desired.

The prime minister noted that the issue of regional imbalance, raised by a number of chief ministers, needs to be addressed on priority basis, both nationally, and within states.

He backed the suggestion by Jammu and Kashmir chief minister that states should organise events there. He also said that states should take interest in the students from Jammu and Kashmir to better integrate the union of states.

The prime minister called upon states to use the GeM platform (Government e-Marketplace), to reduce corruption and increase transparency in government procurement. He said the use of technologies such as BHIM and Aadhaar would result in significant savings for the states.

Modi said the District Mineral Fund, the CAMPA Fund, and the construction workers welfare fund, would provide significant boost to the resources of the state. He asked NITI Aayog to come up with a roadmap for better utilisation of such funds by the states.

The prime minister urged states to join the `Ek-Bharat, Shresth Bharat' initiative, which was launched on Sardar Patel's birth anniversary last year. He said India's richness of culture and heritage should no longer be ignored.

The prime minister said a constructive discussion has begun on the subject of holding union and state elections simultaneously. For long, he said, India had suffered from economic and political mismanagement and that because of poor time management, many good initiatives and schemes had failed to deliver the anticipated results. He emphasised the need to develop robust arrangements that could function amidst diversity.

Modi mentioned the advancing of the budget presentation date. Stating that in a country where agricultural income is exceedingly important, budgets should be prepared immediately after the receipt of agricultural incomes for the year. He said that there have been suggestions to have the financial year from January to December. He urged states to take the initiative in this regard.