Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that taking the nation’s economic growth rate to double digits is a challenge for the government, adding that several important steps would have to be taken to achieve it.

Chairing the fourth meeting of the Niti Aayog Governing Council, the prime minister, in his opening remarks assured the chief ministers of flood-affected states of providing all central assistance to deal with the situation.

Observing that the Indian economy has grown at a healthy rate of 7.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, Modi said the challenge now is to take this growth rate to double digits, which requires more important measures.

The conference, among other things, would deliberate on issues like doubling of farmers’ income, development of aspirational districts, Ayushman Bharat, Mission Indradhanush, Nutrition Mission and celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

These steps, Modi said, were essential to achieve the vision of New India by 2020.

The PM said the Governing Council was a platform that could bring about “historic change” in the development of the country.

He assured the chief ministers from flood-affected states that the Union government would provide all assistance to them to deal with the flood situations.

Modi further said the council has approached complex issues of governance as “Team India”, in the spirit of cooperative, competitive federalism.

The PM said chief ministers of states have played a key role in policy formulation, through sub-groups and committees on issues such as Swachh Bharat Mission, Digital Transactions and Skill Development.

The recommendations of these sub-groups have been incorporated by various ministries of the Union government, he added.

1.5 lakh health and wellness centres are being constructed under the Ayushman Bharat programme, he said, adding that about 10 crore families will be provided with health assurance worth Rs 5 lakh every year.

A comprehensive approach was being adopted for education, under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, Modi added.

Observing that schemes such as Mudra Yojana, Jan Dhan Yojana and Stand Up India were helping in greater financial inclusion, the PM said it was imperative to tackle economic imbalances on priority.

He said that all aspects and parameters of human development need to be addressed and improved upon in the 115 aspirational districts.

The Gram Swaraj Abhiyan has emerged as a new model for implementation of schemes, he said, adding that it has been extended to 45,000 villages in the aspirational districts.

Modi further said India has no shortage of capabilities, capacities and resources and in the current financial year, the states would receive over Rs 11 lakh crore from the Centre, which is an increase of about Rs 6 lakh crore from the last year of the previous government.

The day-long Governing Council meeting is being attended by chief Ministers, several union ministers and Niti Aayog officials.

(With PTI inputs)