Encourage people to use local products ‘wherever possible’, reduce imports: PM

NEW DELHI, Aug 7: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said local goods should be encouraged wherever possible, stressing that ‘Vocal for Local’ is not the agenda of an individual political party but a common goal.

Speaking at the 7th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog as its Chairman, he exhorted the states to focus on promoting 3Ts – Trade, Tourism and Technology – in every Indian Mission around the world.

Modi said states must focus on reducing imports, increasing exports and identifying opportunities for the same in every state.

“We should encourage people to use local goods wherever possible,” he said.

While calling for an all-out effort to strengthen the economy, the Prime Minister said even though GST collection has improved there is much more potential to grow it further.

An official statement from NITI Aayog said, PM Modi highlighted the importance of all the issues on the agenda, especially the need for India to focus on modernized agriculture, animal husbandry, and food processing to become self-sufficient and a global leader in the agriculture sector.

Modi said rapid urbanization can become India’s strength instead of weakness by leveraging technology to ensure ease of living, transparent service delivery, and improvement in the quality of life for every citizen of urban India.

The PM also spoke about India’s G20 presidency in 2023 and called it a unique opportunity to show the world that India is not just Delhi—it is every State and Union Territory of the country.

Noting that India’s federal structure and cooperative federalism emerged as a model for the world during the Covid crisis, Modi said that credit for this goes to the state governments which focused on grassroots delivery of public services to the people through cooperation across political lines.

This was the first physical meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog since the onset of the pandemic. The meeting on Sunday was attended by 23 Chief Ministers, 3 Lieutenant Governors and 2 Administrators and several Union Ministers. Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar were not present in the meeting.

The four key agenda items of the meeting were crop diversification, implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) in schools and in higher education, and urban governance.

According to NITI Aayog, the meeting will pave the way for synergies towards a new era of collaboration and cooperation between Centre and States/ Union Territories. The forum provides an opportunity for the Centre and States to exchange views on key policy related issues aimed at strengthening India's growth trajectory.

As India commemorates 75 years of Independence, there is a reinforced need for the states to be agile, resilient and self-reliant and move towards AatmaNirbhar Bharat in a spirit of cooperative federalism, NITI Aayog said. (UNI)