Arvind Panagariya is returning back to academics. Both Panagariya and Kumar are firm believers of Modinomics.
The National Institution for Transforming India, popularly called NITI Aayog, got its new vice chairman, Rajiv Kumar, on Friday.
The post was earlier held by Arvind Panagariya who left abruptly to rejoin academics. In an interview to The Indian Express, Panagariya said that the toughest part of his two-and-a-half-year job was to make sure that states confirm to the Center’s reforms, without the availability of funds at the Aayog.
Looking back at his work, Panagariya said that he is satisfied that he has completed most of the work that he hoped to finish. “If I count what we have been able to do, I think it’s lot more than what I thought I would be able to do when I joined,” Panagariya said. “I feel fantastic that I have been able to accomplished [accomplish] a lot more than I had thought.”
Most of the things, for instance, closure of sick units, privatization, medical council and higher education, which could be executed immediately have been put in process, he told the newspaper. However, he admitted that he would have liked to complete the 15-year vision document and seven-year strategy, too, before leaving.
Among priorities, Panagariya said that it is important to restore the health of the banks as the credit markets need to be revived. “And then one can assess is it time to now think of greater disinvestment and perhaps even privatization in some of the banks. But that’s a call at that stage. (The First priority) is restoring the health of the banks because first the credit markets have to be brought to life,” he said.
The new vice chairman, Kumar, has held important positions in several institutions. He has worked as a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, CEO of the economic think tank ICRIER, secretary general of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and chief economist of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).