New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the goal of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024 is challenging but surely achievable, as he asked the states to focus on their core competencies and work towards increasing the GDP right from the district level. In his inaugural address at the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of Niti Aayog here, the prime minister also underlined the need for taking effective steps to tackle drought in various parts of the country. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceThe meeting is being attended by senior union ministers and almost all the chief ministers, except Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal) and K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana). Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who could not attend the meeting due to health reasons, deputed his finance minister Manpreet Badal. Banerjee had earlier said she would not attend the meeting, saying that Niti Aayog is a “fruitless” body as it has no financial powers. Rao did not come as he was busy with preparations for the launch of the ambitious Rs 80,000 crore Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project that would end water woes in Telangana. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics PrizeAccording to an official release, Modi recalled the recent general elections as the world’s largest democratic exercise and said that it is now time for everyone to work for the development of India. He spoke of a collective fight against poverty, unemployment, drought, flood, pollution, corruption and violence. The Prime Minister said that everyone has a common goal of achieving a New India by 2022. He described the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and PM Awaas Yojana as illustrations of what the Centre and the states can accomplish together. Modi also said that empowerment, and ease of living, have to be provided to each and every Indian. He said that the goals that have been set for the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi should be accomplished by October 2 and work should begin in the earnest towards the goals for 2022, the 75th anniversary of independence. Stressing that the focus should be on collective responsibility for achieving short term and long term goals, Modi said the goal to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024, is “challenging, but can surely be achieved”. The size of India’s economy was estimated at USD 2.75 trillion at end-March 2019. States, he added should recognise their core competence, and work towards raising GDP targets right from the district level. He also stressed on increasing exports from the country.