Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya resigns, will return to academics
NEW DELHI: Vice President Niti Aayog Arvind Panagariya said Tuesday that he would leave the government of the Reflection Group on August 31 and join Columbia University.
The Indian-American, who joined Vice President Niti Aayog in January 2015, is the second economist economist after former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, leaving a leading position in India to return to the teaching profession in the States United.
Panagariya, 64, a professor of Indian political economics at Columbia University, had no fixed term in the government’s expert group.
Through the convention, followed by the previous Planning Commission which was replaced by the term Niti Aayog was to be co-terminal with that of the prime minister, who is the president of the body.
Speaking to the press, Panagariya said that the university gave more extension and that Niti Aayog would come August 31.
He said about two months, he had expressed his wish that Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose on August 31.
Panagariya said he had to make a choice, since it would not be possible for him to get the job he did at Columbia University. In American universities, you can teach, as long as your health allows it.
“If I were 40 I would have had a job anywhere … the kind of work I did at Columbia is almost impossible at this age,” he said.
In similar circumstances, Rajan had left the central bank after a 3-year period last year to join the University of Chicago.
Panagariya, a close associate of the recognized trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati, was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honor recognized by India in all spheres, and in March 2012.
He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University, and has also worked with the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, IMF and UNCTAD for various purposes.
In his mandate Niti Aayog, Panagariya said it was difficult at first, but once he got into the slot, he was a stern wind.
Panagariya said it was comforting that during his tenure a new institution had its roots and continued to steer the economy to a higher growth trajectory.
Among other achievements, he said, Niti Aayog could push for privatization, especially for sick units and Air India, paving the way for reforms in various sectors, including medical and higher education, and developing a good working relationship with the states.