Modi’s se­nior eco­nomic aide re­signs to re­sume teach­ing No easy ride

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

New Delhi, In­dia - Arvind Panagariya, vice chair­man of the gov­ern­ment’s key pol­icy plan­ning body and a se­nior eco­nomic ad­vi­sor to In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, has re­signed - a de­vel­op­ment that could hurt the gov­ern­ment’s plan to boost growth in Asia’s third-largest econ­omy.

A Columbia Univer­sity pro­fes­sor, Panagariya (64) was the first vice chief of the pol­icy body known as NITI Aayog. He was ap­pointed after Modi dis­man­tled the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion that used to set five-year growth roadmaps. He will re­sume teach­ing du­ties by Septem­ber.

“I have asked the Prime Min­is­ter to re­lieve me,” Panagariya told re­porters in New Delhi.

Panagariya was spear­head­ing ef­forts to re­duce gov­ern­ment’s role in var­i­ous busi­nesses. He was an early pro­po­nent of pri­vatis­ing the debt-laden Air In­dia which has been put on the block by the Modi ad­min­is­tra­tion as well as guid­ing strate­gic sales - sell­ing at least 26 per cent stake - of state firms. It was no smooth sail­ing though. Panagariya had run into op­po­si­tion from rightwing labour unions, part of the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS), the ide­o­log­i­cal par­ent of Modi’s rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party. They ac­cused him of im­ple­ment­ing anti-labour poli­cies and asked Modi to to­tally re­or­gan­ise the NITI Aayog.

“It was ev­i­dent that there was noth­ing bigger for Panagariya in the In­dian gov­ern­ment - no min­is­ter­ship - that would be worth giv­ing up his ten­ure as pro­fes­sor, which he would have lost had he stayed on for more than two years,” said Mo­han Gu­ruswamy, chair­man of New Delhi-based Cen­tre For Pol­icy Al­ter­na­tives.

Arvind Panagariya (right) was the first vice chief of the NITI Aayog

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