Arvinda Panagariya to head NITI Aayog

Arvind Panagariya
Arvind Panagariya

Didn’t we say it before it happened! Yes, the verdict is out and it is confirmed now that Arvind Panagariya has been appointed the first Vice Chairman of the newly created NITI Aayog along with six members and three special invitees.

Arvind Panagariya, a free-market economist who teaches at Columbia University in the US, was on Monday appointed the first Vice Chairman of the newly-created NITI Aayog. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the Chairperson of the body, that replaces the 65 year old Socialist-era Planning Commission.

Panagariya is an Indian-American economist and Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He will be the first Vice Chairman of the body. The previous avatar, the Planning Commission, had a Deputy Chairperson at the helm.

Panagariya has earlier been the Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank and a Professor of Economics and Co-director, Center for International Economics, University of Maryland at College Park.

Holding a Ph.D degree in Economics from Princeton University, Panagariya has also worked for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in various capacities.

Economist Bibek Debroy and former DRDO chief V K Saraswat were appointed as full-time members by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu and Radha Mohan Singh were appointed as Ex-Officio members while Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Zubin Irani and Thawar Chand Gehlot will be Special Invitees.

Formation of the NITI Aayog or National Institution for Transforming India was announced on January 1. It will serve as a policy think-tank for the central as well as state governments with the Prime Minister as its Chairperson. The Aayog which is headed by Prime Minister and have a vice chairman and an CEO. The government is yet to name the CEO, which according to sources will be shortly named.

The NITI Aayog will have a governing council comprising of all state Chief Ministers and Lt Governors and will work towards fostering a ‘co-operative federalism’ for providing a “national agenda” to the Centre and States.

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