Ap­point Full-Time G20 Sherpa, says Niti’s Pana­gariya

Cites grow­ing bur­den on govt think tank

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Our Bu­reau

New Delhi: Out­go­ing Niti Aayog vice-chair­man Arvind Pana­gariya has sug­gested that In­dia ap­point a full-time G20 Sherpa, cit­ing the grow­ing bur­den on the gov­ern­ment think tank and in­creas­ing work for the Sherpa as the coun­try’s stature rises in the group. Pana­gariya had dou­bled up as In­dia’s Sherpa, act­ing as the Prime Min­is­ter’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the G20 bloc.

In his res­ig­na­tion let­ter to PM Naren­dra Modi, Pana­gariya said In­dia would any­way need some­one to han­dle the job on a full-time ba­sis if the coun­try were to host the G20 Sum­mit.

In­dia could host the Sum­mit in 2019. Sher­pas from the mem­ber states co­or­di­nate the agenda of a sum­mit. The G20 has emerged as the most im­por­tant ar­range­ment for lead­ers of the big­gest coun­tries to come to­gether for in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion on fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic is­sues.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing the sug­ges­tion, a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial told ET. PM Modi had ap­pointed cab­i­net min­is­ter Suresh Prabhu as his Sherpa for the G20 when the process to form the NITI Aayog was un­der­way.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the deputy chair­man of the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion had been In­dia’s Sherpa to G20. The role was taken over by Pana­gariya when he took over as the vice-chair­man of the think tank that re­placed the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Point­ing out that In­dia’s stature has rapidly risen on the global stage, as was il­lus­trated at the re­cent G20 sum­mit in Ham­burg, Pana­gariya said: “This means that go­ing for­ward the work of G20 Sherpa would ex­pand.”

He also pointed to the ris­ing work load of NITI Aayog to jus­tify the re­quire­ment of a full­time Sherpa. “To en­sure that the work of the NITI Aayog and G20 en­gage­ments re­ceive due at­ten­tion, it may be worth con­sid­er­ing sep­a­rat­ing th­ese roles in the fu­ture,” he wrote in the let­ter, in which he also ex­pressed his de­sire to re- turn to aca­demics. Pana­gariya thanked Modi for ap­point­ing him as the Aayog vice-chair­man. “No pre­vi­ous leader had shown the courage to ap­point an out­sider” at this level in the gov­ern­ment of In­dia, he said, ac­cord­ing to a source. “I would like to say that this has been dream come true but even that would fall short of what has hap­pened. For the op­por­tu­nity and ex­pe­ri­ence you have made pos­si­ble have been well beyond any­thing I had dreamt,” Pana­gariya wrote in the let­ter.

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