Chairing the first meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog, he said India cannot advance without all its states advancing in tandem, according to an official release here. Modi added that he envisioned different states competing with each other in promoting governance initiatives in a spirit of "cooperative, competitive federalism".

NITI Aayog or 'National Institution for Transforming India' Aayog is a policy think-tank which has replaced the Planning Commission and aims to involve the states in economic policy-making. The prime minister asked chief ministers to work with the Central government to forge a model of cooperative federalism, whereby the centre and the states can come together to resolve differences and chart a common course to progress and prosperity, the release added.

Modi said that the world has started looking at India differently, but "our biggest challenge still is how to eliminate poverty." Observing jobs cannot be created, and poverty cannot be removed without growth, he said, "First and foremost we should aim at a high rate of growth."Noting that projects are often held up for want of timely decisions, Modi asked chief ministers to give personal attention to such factors which slow down projects.

The Prime Minister emphasized that the central government wished to empower the states with finances, with technology and knowledge so that they are able to plan better and execute even better."For federalism to work well, states must also fulfill their role in promoting the shared national objectives," he said.

Reflecting on the role of NITI Aayog as a think-tank, the prime minister said he sees great scope for states to learn from each other, work together among themselves and with the Central government. He also expressed hope that through the mechanism of the NITI Aayog, India could move away from "one size fits all" schemes, and forge a better match between the schemes and the needs of the states.

Modi said the governing council of NITI Aayog would help advance the national cause "as we jointly define it". The interaction between the chief ministers was coordinated by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the opening remarks for the meeting were made by the panel's vice chairman Arvind Panagariya.

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