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Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya resigns; says will return to academia

Panagariya, who has been on leave from Columbia University to work at the Niti Aayog, said in his letter that his leave was due to expire on August 31 and it was not possible to extend it.

Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya resigns; says will return to academia

New Delhi: Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya on Tuesday said he has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to relieve him of his duties by August 31 as he was not getting extension of leave from Columbia University.

The Indian-American economist and Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University, Panagariya had joined as the first Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog, which had replaced the Planning Commission, in January 2015.

Talking to reporters, he said the Columbia University was not giving him further extension and he would be leaving Niti Aayog on August 31.

He said that about two months ago he had expressed his desire to the Prime Minister, who is the Chairperson of NITI Aayog, to be relieved by August 31.

In March 2012, he was honoured with Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award of the country. He was previously Chief Economist at the Asian Development Bank.

There was no official comment by way of reaction but the development has come in the midst of speculation that there could be a reshuffle in the NITI Aayog where Bibek Debroy, who also is a staunch supporter of Modi and his economics, could be the likely successor. 

Another name doing the rounds is that of Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, who may be shifted to the NITI Aayog. There have also been murmurs of dissatisfaction in the top government circles about the performance of the NITI Aayog under the leadership of Panagariya, sources said. 

Before NITI Aayog, Panagariya served as the chief economist of the Asian Development Bank and has also worked with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in various capacities.

In the past, he has been a professor of economics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has also worked for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He holds a Ph.D in economics from Princeton University.

With Agency Inputs