Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved the reconstitution of the NITI Aayog, renaming Rajiv Kumar as its Vice Chairman. The panel’s current members V K Saraswat, Ramesh Chand and V K Paul find a place in the reconstituted Aayog, with the only change being economist Bibek Debroy’s name not figuring in the new list. The Prime Minister is the Chairperson of the Aayog.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will be ex-officio members, the government said in a statement. The previous NDA government had set up NITI Aayog as a policy think tank after scrapping the Planning Commission.
Besides brainstorming on economic and social issues, the Aayog also helps the Centre in policy formulation by providing research and inputs.
As per the January 1, 2015, Cabinet resolution on its constitution, NITI Aayog has to provide governments at the central and state levels with relevant strategic and technical advice across the spectrum of key elements of policy. “This includes matters of national and international importance on the economic front, dissemination of best practices from within the country as well as from other nations, the infusion of new policy ideas and specific issue-based support.”
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Railway and Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot and Statistics Minister Rao Inderjit Singh will be special invitees to the Aayog, the government said.
Prior to the reconstitution, the Minister of Human Resource Development was a special invitee to the Aayog.
The reconstitution of NITI Aayog comes ahead of its Governing Council’s meeting next week. The Prime Minister will chair a meeting of the Aayog’s Governing Council on June 15 to discuss various issues relating to economy, agriculture and security among others.
The Council, the apex body of NITI Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials, who will participate in the meeting.
This will be the first Governing Council meeting of the PM Modi-led NDA government which took charge on May 30. The last meeting of the Council was held on June 17, 2018, under the previous NDA government. Apart from economic and security issues, the Council is likely to take up water management and aspirational district programmes.