Rajiv Kumar, who took over as vice-chairman of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog after the resignation of Arvind Panagariya, is a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and has authored several books on the national economy and security. He has also authored a book on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Saturday, August 5, the Centre appointed Rajiv Kumar after Panagariya quit to pursue academic interests, Business Standard reported.
The government also appointed Vinod Paul, a paediatrician at the AIIMS who has worked in public health, as a member of the NITI Aayog. Economist Bibek Debroy, agricultural economist Ramesh Chand and scientist V K Saraswat are the other three members.
Kumar's interests include macroeconomics and politics, and India in the context of South Asia. Earlier, he was secretary general, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci), and director and chief executive of Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (Icrier). He was also a member of the National Security Advisory Board from 2006 to 2008. He has been chief economist, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), and has held senior positions in the Asian Development Bank, and the ministries of industries and finance.
Since the inception of NITI Aayog, it has recommended several major policy initiatives. These include a road map for revitalisation of agriculture, a model land-leasing law, a road map for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, a National Energy Policy, a roadmap for poverty elimination, development strategies for the Northeast and hilly states, digital payments, targeting 50 Olympic medals, review of scholarship schemes for Scheduled Caste students and a national nutrition strategy. Of these, many policy initiatives have been accepted by the government, while others are still in progress.