New Delhi, Jan 5: The government on Monday appointed Arvind Panagariya, a free-market economist who teaches at Columbia University in the US, the first Vice Chairman of the newly-created NITI Aayog along with six members and three special invitees.
Economist Bibek Debroy and former defence secretary VK Saraswat will take charge as full-time members while Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh will function as ex-officio members.
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot and Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Irani will be part of the NITI Aayog as Special Invitees.
62-year-old Panagariya is an Indian-American economist and Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He will be the first Vice Chairman of the body.
The previous avatar, the Planning Commission, had a Deputy Chairperson at the helm.
Panagariya has earlier been the Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank and a Professor of Economics and Co-director, Center for International Economics, University of Maryland at College Park.
Holding a Ph.D degree in Economics from Princeton University, Panagariya has also worked for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in various capacities.
Meanwhile, the government has archived the website of the erstwhile Planning Commission while the new body will launch its own website in a few days.
The 65-year-old Planning Commission was replaced by NITI Aayog on 1 January this year.
NITI Aayog will serve as a policy think-tank for the central as well as state governments with the Prime Minister as its Chairperson.
The NITI Aayog will have a governing council comprising of all state Chief Ministers and Lt Governors and will work towards fostering a 'co-operative federalism' for providing a "national agenda" to the Centre and States.
(With agency inputs)