Appoint Full-Time G20 Sherpa, says Niti’s Panagariya
Cites growing burden on govt think tank
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.