Panagariya’s Exit may Impact Some Key NITI Initiatives
New Delhi: Arvind Panagariya’s sudden exit from NITI Aayog may impact some key initiatives of the official think tank, including preparing a 15-year vision document for creation of massive coastal employment zones and setting up of worldclass universities, officials said.
Panagariya resigned as NITI Aayog vice chairman earlier this week, saying he planned to return to academics at the end of this month.
“The sudden exit of the vice chairman will create some vacuum in the system till his successor resumes office and settles down with the existing system,” an Aayog official told ET.
Senior officials at the government think tank conceded that some of the projects exclusively being handled by the vice chairman may see a temporary slowdown.
The idea of creating employment specific zones on the lines of China, for example, was conceived and pushed by Panagariya. The Columbia University professor himself wrote a three-year draft action plan for the country.
Panagariya had then told ET that the draft plan, though formulated after extensive consultation, does not reflect all the inputs, and a more comprehensive document would follow in the form of vision and strategy document, dealing with defence, internal security, and may be even privatisation of banks. Currently, a team from Asian Development Bank is preparing a detailed project report for such zones to be set up in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
Progress on key initiatives spearheaded by Panagariya will now depend upon the priority areas of his successor, said the official quoted earlier. “Though most the work functions are pushed upon by the Prime Minister’s Office to the Aayog, the new person appointed in place of Panagariya will take time to settle down,” he said.
“It was only a year ago that the institution had actually come to life after the vice chairman and the CEO collectively pushed some big-ticket agendas of the government,” the official said. Another senior Aayog official said the vice chairman had faced some rough patches from within and outside