Renowned pro-growth economist Arvind Panagariya will be the first vice-chairman of the newly announced NITI Aayog, which has replaced the Planning Commission, a government source told Business Standard. An official announcement to this effect would be made next week. The vice-chairman would be of Cabinet rank.
The new body — the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog — will be headed by the prime minister, and comprise a vice-chairperson, besides full-time and part-time members.
The Aayog will have a governing council, comprising all chief ministers and lieutenant governors, and will work towards fostering co-operative federalism for providing a national agenda to the Centre and states.
Panagariya, mentored by trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati, is one of the main brains behind the recent labour reforms in Rajasthan. He was vice-chairman of Rajasthan chief minister’s economic advisory council.
Jagdish Bhagwati, professor of Indian political economy at Columbia University, is a pro-reform economist and ran a lively debate with Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen on the issue of redistribution of wealth and economic growth.
Panagariya, a columnist in Business Standard, along with Bhagwati had argued that economic growth should be given priority, as without it, social goals are difficult to meet.
Panagariya was also the chief economist at Asian Development Bank. He holds a PhD degree in economics from Princeton University. He is also an editor of the India Policy Forum, a journal modelled on the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity and jointly published by the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, and the National Council on Applied Economic Research, New Delhi.
His technical papers have been printed in the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of International Economics, and International Economic Review. Besides, his policy papers have appeared in the Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, World Economy, Journal of International Affairs and Finance and Development.