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New Delhi: Ahead of NITI Aayog meeting, former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh on Saturday held a discussion with chief ministers of Congress-ruled states and deliberated on issues that could be flagged at the meeting.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot, Puducherry’s V Narayansamy, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel and Karnataka's HD Kumaraswamy attended the meeting that was held at the party office at 24, Akbar Road, Delhi. Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh did not attend the meeting as he is unwell.

“They discussed the proposed agenda and issues of the states ruled by the Congress and its allies to be taken up at today's meeting," a Congress leader quoted as saying by news agency IANS.

Singh also discussed the amendments required in the Forest Act, so that a change can be brought in the lives of tribals, the Congress leaders said. They also talked about the policy required to bring investments in the Maoist-affected or tribal areas, instead of exploiting natural resources. Important measures for improvement of agriculture and the rejuvenation of rivers were also discussed at the meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the fifth meeting of the governing council of the NITI Aayog later in the day.

Several issues including the drought situation, farm distress, rain-water harvesting and preparedness for Kharif crops will be taken up for discussion at the meeting.

The five-point agenda for the meeting also includes aspirational districts programme, transforming agriculture and security related issues with special focus on left-wing extremism (LWE) districts, an official statement said.

The meeting, which will take place at Rashtrapati Bhavan, will be attended by chief ministers, several union ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, and senior government officials, news agency reported.

However, chief ministers of three states - West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Punjab’s Captain Amarinder and Telangana’s K Chandrashekar Rao will skip the meeting.
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