Niti Aayog's Arvind Panagariya Quits, Says Sounded Out PM Modi Two months Ago

Arvind Panagariya was appointed the head of the rejigged plan panel in 2015.

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Niti Aayog's Arvind Panagariya Quits, Says Sounded Out PM Modi Two months Ago

Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Pangariya says he will return to academia in the US. (File Photo)

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Arvind Panagariya says he will return to academia in the US
  2. August 31 will be Mr Panagariya's last day in office
  3. He was appointed the head of the rejigged plan panel in 2015
Arvind Panagariya resigned as vice chairman of the Niti Aayog today, saying he would like to return to academics in the US. The 64-year-old economist said he had discussed his exit two months ago with PM Modi, who is also the chairman of Niti Aayog. He also said he had written to the Prime Minister, requesting that he be relieved of his duties by August 31 as he was not getting an extension of leave from the Columbia University.

"If I were at 40, then I would have got job anywhere... the kind of job I have at Columbia is almost impossible to get at this age," Mr Panagariya was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. At US universities one can teach as long as one's health permits.

Sources said the government has decided on a successor, who is also a well-known economist. "The name will be announced at the right time," the sources said.

Last year, another renowed economist, Raghuram Rajan, returned to academics without seeking a second term as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Mr Panagariya, an Indian-born, US-educated economist, was named as the first chief of the rejigged plan panel in 2015.

The Niti Aayog, the brainchild of PM Modi, had replaced the Planning Commission formed by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1950, which used to draw up Soviet-style five-year economic plans.

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Mr Panagariya did not have a fixed term at the government think tank. Going by the convention followed by the Planning Commission, his term was to coincide with that of the Prime Minister.

Before he took up the Niti Aayog assignment, Mr Panagariya was a professor at Columbia University and the chief economist at the Asian Development Bank.  A protege of economist Jagdish Bhagwati, Mr Panagariya has also worked for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation, and the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

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