New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of Niti Aayog at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre in national capital on Saturday. In his opening remarks at the meet, PM Modi said that the goal of making India a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024 is “challenging, but achievable” with the concerted efforts of states.

Modi, according to an official release, stressed that NITI Aayog has a key role to play in fulfilling the mantra of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, SabkaVishwas”.  He added that all states should recognise their core competence and work towards raising Gross Domestic Product (GDP) targets right from the district level.

Recalling the recent general elections as the world’s largest democratic exercise, the prime minister said that it is now time for everyone to work for the development of India. Furthermore, PM calls for a collective fight against poverty, unemployment, drought, flood, pollution, corruption and violence.

Speaking about the newly-created Jal Shakti Ministry, PM Modi said that it will help provide an integrated approach to water and states can also integrate various efforts towards water conservation and management.

The council, the apex body of Niti Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government. This was the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government. The meeting was attended by all chief ministers, except Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Captain Amarinder Singh(Punjab) and K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana). Senior Union ministers including Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and Rajnath Singh were also among the attendees.

Headed by the Prime Minister, the Governing Council meets regularly, and its first meeting took place on February 8, 2015. The second meeting of council on July 15, 2015, reviewed the progress made by the three sub-groups of chief ministers and the two task forces.

In the third meeting of the council on April 23, 2017, Modi had pitched for conducting simultaneous elections of the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies and shifting to a January-December fiscal year. The fourth meeting of the council on June 17, 2018, deliberated upon measures taken to double farmers’ income and the progress of government’s flagship schemes.