He also suggested that an officer be identified in state governments to monitor and ensure a smooth resolution of pending issues so as to expedite projects implementation.
Addressing the first meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, the Prime Minister identified "alleviation of poverty" as the biggest challenge before the county and said the newly formed body will forge a model of co-operative and competitive federalism".
The recently constituted National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) has replaced over six-decade old Planning Commission as a think-tank for Centre and state governments as also to suggest policy directions. The Prime Minister is the chairperson of the new body.
"Forgetting all our differences, let us focus on the cycle of investment, growth, job creation and prosperity," he said at the meeting attended by several Chief Ministers and representatives of 31 states and Union Territories.
The Prime Minister announced constitution of three sub-groups comprising Chief Ministers to suggest rationalisation of 66 central schemes, on skill development and to make Clean India a continuous programme.
The first sub-group will suggest which of the central schemes should be continued and those which need to be curtailed or transfered to states for better implementation.
"We will move away from 'one size fits all' schemes and forge a better match between the schemes and the needs of states," Modi said.
Noting that projects are often held up for want of timely decisions, Modi asked Chief Ministers "to give personal attention" to factors slowing down projects and asked them to "focus on the cycle of investment, growth, job creation and prosperity".
He also asked states to set up two task forces each to help the country get out of problem of poverty and increase agricultural production.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee skipped the meet, but Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Manjhi, who is facing a political turmoil back home, was present.
Others who attended the meeting included Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Prakash Singh Badal, O Panneerselvam (Tamil Nadu), Oommen Chandy (Kerala) and Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), as well as Chief Ministers from BJP ruled states.
Modi called upon Chief Ministers to work with the Centre to forge a model of co-operative federalism where the two work as Team India and "come together to resolve differences, and chart a common course to progress and prosperity."
Describing the meeting as one that has the potential to bring about historic changes, he said the Governing Council of NITI Aayog would help advance the national cause "as we jointly define it".
Noting that India cannot advance without all its states advancing in tandem, the Prime Minister said the idea was to bring up all states together in the spirit of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'.
He added that he envisioned different states competing with each other in promoting governance initiatives, in a spirit of "co-operative, competitive federalism."
Stating that the world has started looking at India differently, he said "our biggest challenge still is how to eliminate poverty".
Jobs, he said, cannot be created, and poverty cannot be alleviated without growth. "First and foremost we should aim at a high rate of growth."
Emphasising that the Centre wanted to empower the states with finances, technology and knowledge so that they are able to plan better and execute even better, he said the Cabinet Resolution setting up NITI Aayog provides for the appointment of Regional Councils with specific mandates for specific time periods.
These councils, he hoped, could help forge cooperation among two or more states facing a common set of problems or amicably settle disputes that delay progress.
Also, these councils could catalyse joint projects involving travel, transportation and tourism across member states.
For federalism to work well, states must also fulfil their role in promoting the shared national objectives, he said as he saw great scope for states to learn from each other, work together among themselves and with the Centre.

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