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PM Narendra Modi addressed the meeting of the NITI Aayog (File)New Delhi: Every state played a crucial role according to its strength and contributed to India’s fight against COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a key NITI Aayog meeting today. This was the first on-site meeting of the government think-tank’s governing council since the pandemic lockdown in March 2020. The meeting was held online last year.At least 23 Chief Ministers, three Lieutenant Governors, two administrators and Union Ministers attended the event moderated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.”Every state played a crucial role according to its strength and contributed to India’s fight against COVID-19. This led to India emerging as an example for the developing nations to look up to as a global leader,” PM Modi said, according to a statement by NITI Aayog.”For the first time in India’s 75 years of independence, all of India’s Chief Secretaries met together in one place and deliberated issues of national importance for three days. This collective process led to the development of the agenda for this meeting,” PM Modi said.The key topics discussed at the NITI Aayog meeting this year were crop diversification and achieving self-sufficiency in pulses, oilseeds and other agri-commodities; applying National Education Policy, or NEP, in school and higher education, and urban governance.On the goods and services tax, or GST, PM Modi said the collection has improved but potential is much more. “Increasing GST collection requires collective action by the centre and states. It is crucial for strengthening our economic position and becoming a $5 trillion economy,” he said.PM Modi said India’s federal structure and cooperative federalism emerged as a model for the world during the pandemic, adding India sent a powerful message to developing nations of the world – that it is possible to overcome challenges with resilience despite resource limitations.The credit for this, PM Modi said, goes to the state governments, which focused on grassroots delivery of public services by cooperating across political lines.PM Modi 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.”We should develop a mass movement around G20. This will allow us to identify the best talent available in the country,” the Prime Minister said. He suggested there should be a dedicated team for G20 in the states to derive the maximum possible benefit from this initiative.”The G20 presidency presents a great opportunity and a great responsibility. For the first time in the history of G20, India will host the G20 meetings over the year, not only in Delhi, but in every state and Union Territory,” Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said.Every Chief Minister and Lt Governor also addressed the meeting, highlighting the priorities, achievements and challenges facing their states and Union Territories.

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