Pana­gariya’s Exit may Im­pact Some Key NITI Ini­tia­tives

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Yogima.Sharma@ times­group.com

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

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