NITI Aayog is a policy-making think-tank: Vice-Chairman Arvind Pangariya

Set with many anomalies, the Goods and Services tax (GST) has become a challenge for the Indian government.

Outgoing NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya cited his opinion on various aspects of GST in an interview with A K Bhattacharya.

What do you view as your three greatest achievements as the NITI Aayog vice-chairman?

First, the fact that we were able to establish the NITI Aayog as a policy-making think-tank. When I entered the industry, I had a lot of apprehension in mind. I was an academic. And this involved a lot of state effort, economics, consensus-building, and so on. But I am very satisfied today.

Second, when we started, we had no leverage with states, unlike our predecessor, the Planning Commission, which had the leverage as it gave funds to states. We had to build our relationship on a different footing. We had to establish that we had some good ideas to offer and we could be partners in the states’ development process.

Third, we have worked closely with the central and state governments in promoting economic reforms. In states, we have made a substantial progress with marketing reforms in agriculture. With the Centre, we are close to shutting down 18-20 sick units. Likewise, on privatization, we are making progress, at least at our institution.

How has the NITI Aayog been different from the Planning Commission?

In two ways. One, the Planning Commission wrote Five-Year Plans and implement them. We create action agenda, which is all about reforms, far-reaching and wide-ranging. Two, in relation with states, the Commission allocated funds, so it determined the character of annual plans. The chief ministers lined up at the Planning Commission. In our case, we visit states – the members, CEO and I, all have been visiting and advising states on how to carry forward their development.

Excerpts Source: Business Standard