PM Modi reconstitutes Niti Aayog, Rajiv Kumar to remain Vice Chairman


File Photo of Niti Ayog

File Photo of Niti Ayog

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved reconstitution of government think-tank Niti Aayog, dropping Bibek Debroy while retaining other full-time members and including Home Minister Amit Shah as an ex-officio member.

Rajiv Kumar will continue as vice-chairman of the body, along with other full-time members V K Saraswat, Ramesh Chand and V K Paul, an official statement said.

Debroy was appointed full-time member when the Aayog was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on January 1, 2015.

Besides Amit Shah, other three ex-officio members are Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Special invitees to the Aayog are Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, Railways and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics and Programme Implementation Rao Inderjit Singh.

Niti Aayog is the premier policy think tank of the government and provides both “directional and policy inputs”.

While designing strategic and long term policies and programmes for the Central government, it also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and states.

The Aayog was set up in 2015 after replacing the Planning Commission.

Arvind Panagariya was the first vice-chairman of the Aayog. He was replaced by Kumar in September 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair the fifth meeting of Aayog’s Governing Council on June 15 to discuss various issues concerning water management, agriculture and security.

The council, the apex body of the Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials.

This will be the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government.