PM Modi rejigs NITI Aayog, retains most members; Rajiv Kumar stays as V-C

Rajiv Kumar stays as vice chairman
The Modi government has retained almost all members of NITI Aayog, barring Bibek Debroy, who headed Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister (EAC-PM). The NITI Aayog, which replaced the Planning Commission in January 2015, has Rajiv Kumar as its vice-chairman. 

Four Cabinet ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah, are now its ex-officio members, according to an official release issued on Thursday. 

The government think tank, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was reconstituted ahead of its governing council meet next week. The meeting takes place at a time when economic growth is slipping and the government will be trying hard to find resources in the Budget to perk it up. Chief ministers are also members of the council. 

Kumar was in the same post during the previous Modi government. He was appointed in 2017 when then vice-chairman of the Aayog Arvind Panagariya quit to resume his academic job. 

Sources said the term of EAC-PM was coterminus with the term of the Prime Minister, so it stands dissolved and would be re-constituted. Most likely, Debroy would be appointed its head again, the sources said. 

The government’s release does not contain the name Amitabh Kant as CEO of the Aayog. However, sources said, Kant’s term has still not ended and hence, he is still its CEO. 

Kant's tenure was earlier extended by a year till June 30 this year. 

Three members of Niti — V K Saraswat, Ramesh Chand and V K Paul — have also been retained. 

Besides Shah, three Cabinet ministers — Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar were appointed ex-officio members of the Aayog, which had replaced the Planning Commission in January, 2015.

There are now four special invitees — Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, Railways and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, and minister of state (independent charge), MoSPI Rao Inderjit Singh — are now special invitees.