Veteran Economist at NITI Aayog Helm

Arvind Panagariya is first vice chairman; choice of Bibek Debroy raises eyebrows after critique blog; ex-def secy Saraswat in panel

Published: 06th January 2015 05:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th January 2015 08:13 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Staunch backer of free-market economy, US-based Columbia University professor of economics Arvind Panagariya was on Monday formally named the vice chairperson of the newly established NITI Aayog, along with pro-reform economist-commentator Bibek Debroy and former secretary of defence R&D V K Saraswat as full-time members.

As previously reported by Express, Panagariya will be the first vice-chair of NITI Aayog or National Institute for Transforming India, that has replaced the 65-year-old Planning Commission.

niit.JPGFrom the government side, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu and Radha Mohan Singh will be the ex-officio members. Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani and Thawar Chand Gehlot have been named special invitees.

Though Panagariya’s appointment was expected, Debroy’s appointment has raised a quite a few eyebrows as it has almost coincided with a scathing blog he has written criticising the government for replacing the plan panel with a new structure whose functions, he argued, have not been properly delineated.

Raising ‘Seven Questions About NITI Aayog that Modi Government should Answer’, Debroy wrote, “…The proposed structure of NITI Aayog seems to have become unnecessarily cumbersome and complicated.”

“...Though there was much debate and discussion before NITI Aayog was set up, crucial questions remained unanswered”.

Maybe now he would formulate the answers himself.


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