Arvind Panagariya, who resigned as Niti Aayog Vice Chairman on August 1 dismissed suggestions that he was forced to quit, PTI reported on Wednesday. The economist had said he wants to return to academics in the United States.
The 64-year-old told the news agency that he had not known when he took up the position that the length of his term would be linked to that of the government. He said most western universities are stringent about not extending leaves, and so he had to return to Columbia University though the government wanted him till 2019.
“I did not know my tenure will be co-terminus with the government, how would I know? Is there a letter?” he said, when he was asked why he did not tell the government about his need to return to Columbia University when he joined the policy body in 2015. He added that he accepted the appointment after a phone call. Niti Aayog, or the National Institution for Transforming India, replaced the Planning Commission after the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014.
He also dismissed reports that he had differences with the government or that there were dual power centres in the Niti Aayog.
On August 5, economist Rajiv Kumar was named the new vice chairperson of the Niti Aayog. He is likely to take charge after Panagariya’s last day in office on August 31.