Urban Governance, Post-Covid Growth, NEP on List for Chief Secretaries’ Conference, Niti Aayog Meet

Urban governance, implementation of the National Education Policy, and a roadmap for post-Covid era growth are some of the broad themes that top government policymakers from the Center and the states will discuss in the national conference of chief secretaries later this week at Dharamshala, officials familiar with the matter told News18.

The seventh governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog to be held subsequently will also draw from the agenda points of the conference, they added.

This was discussed in a meeting held last month that was attended by cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant as well as senior bureaucrats in the central government and chief secretaries of all states and union territories.

An official told News18 that the government has narrowed down three broad themes for both the chief secretaries’ conference — scheduled between June 15 and 17 at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh — and the Niti Aayog governing council meeting to be held subsequently.

“The three themes on which detailed deliberations would be held during both events include the National Education Policy, urban governance, and crop diversification and achieving self-sufficiency in oilseeds and pulses,” the government official said.

For the governing council meeting, there will be deliberations on some additional themes too — such as a roadmap for growth in the post-Covid era and the significance of the G20 presidency.

How were the themes selected?

The themes were selected after detailed discussions between the Center and the states and other experts over the last three months. Additionally, subthemes to each of these themes were identified and concept papers were also drafted on them. For instance, urban planning was one of the subthemes under urban governance. Groups comprising chief secretaries, domain experts, and field staff were assigned the subthemes.

The chief secretaries also led panels that drafted concept papers on them for the respective nodal ministries, which have also worked on them.

In the meeting, Kant was trained to have highlighted that deliberations on the common agenda points for the two events will help narrow down action points and there will be a consensus among the states on them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reportedly preside over the chief secretaries’ conference. He will chair the governing council meeting of Niti Aayog to be held subsequently, which comprises chief ministers of all states and lieutenant governors of other union territories.

Making India a manufacturing powerhouse, reimagining agriculture, improving physical infrastructure, accelerating human resources development, health and nutrition were among the issues discussed in the sixth governing council meeting in February last year.

Other sessions for chief secretaries’ conference

While a meeting of chief secretaries was held last year too, to deliberate on various governance and policy issues, this is the first time a national conference of this magnitude is being held, a second government official told News18, adding that this was on the directions of the Prime Minister.

Aside from discussions on the broader agenda points, there will also be sessions held on the role of states in India’s growth story, the route to 2047 when India marks 100 years of independence, the aspirational districts program, and lessons from collectors of aspirational districts.

Decriminalization of minor offenses for ease of doing business, the PM Gati Shakti program on infrastructure, and Mission Karmayogi for capacity building will be among the other sessions to be held during the conference.

Top officials from the central government will be attending the event in Himachal Pradesh. The state is scheduled to go to polls later this year.

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