Minister-heavy Niti Aayog

-The Telegraph

Until now, Modi was the only one who represented the government in Niti Aayog

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved the reconstitution of the Niti Aayog, the policy think-tank created in January 2015 out of the remains of the outmoded Planning Commission, by inducting home minister Amit Shah as an ex-officio member along with three other ministers who have been similarly designated.

The other ex-officio members of Niti Aayog are defence minister Rajanth Singh, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Transport minister Nitin Gadkari, commerce and industry, and railway minister Piyush Goyal, social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, and minister of state for statistics (independent charge) Rao Inderjit Singh will be special invitees to the deliberations.

This is the first time that the Niti Aayog, which was touted as one of the biggest reforms of the first Modi government that swept aside a Nehruvian-era policymaking template -– will have so many central ministers as members, raising questions about the role that the reconstituted entity will play after so many ministers come on board.

Until now, Modi was the only one who represented the government in Niti Aayog.

Economist Rajiv Kumar will continue as the vice-chairperson. A notice issued by the press information bureau said the other full-time members will be V.K. Saraswat, Prof Ramesh Chand, and Dr V.K. Paul –- all of whom were there earlier.

There was some confusion over the continuation of Bibek Debroy and the entity’s chief executive Amitabh Kant, a former bureaucrat. Their names did not figure in the PIB statement but were there on the new list put out on Niti Aayog’s website.

Niti Aayog has been reconstituted ahead of the fifth meeting of Niti Aayog’s governing council that will be held on June 15 and is scheduled to discuss issues relating to water management, agriculture and security.

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The Telegraph, 7 June, 2019,

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