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NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar Steps Down; Suman K Bery To Take Charge

Following the sudden resignation of NITI Aayog Vice-Chairperson Rajiv Kumar, the Centre appointed economist Suman K Bery to the post.

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NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar Steps Down; Suman K Bery To Take Charge
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Following the sudden resignation of NITI Aayog Vice-Chairperson Rajiv Kumar, the Centre appointed economist Suman K Bery to the post on Friday. Rajiv Kumar will step down on April 30, marking the second successive resignation from the post since the formation of the government think-tank in 2014. Suman K Bery will take charge from May 1, 2022, an official order said. 

Mr Bery had earlier served as Director-General (Chief Executive) of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi. He was also a member of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, Statistical Commission and the Reserve Bank of India's Technical Advisory Committee on Monetary Policy.

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Prior to NCAER, Bery was with the World Bank in Washington DC and his areas included macroeconomy, financial markets and public debt management with a focus on Latin America. He did his undergraduate studies at Magdalen College, Oxford University, in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and holds a Master’s in Public Affairs (MPA) degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

Mr Kumar, an eminent economist, took over as vice chairman of Niti Aayog in August 2017 after the then VC Arvind Panagariya exited the government think-tank to return to academics. According to the order, Mr Kumar's resignation has been accepted and he would be relieved from the post with effect from April 30.

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Mr Kumar was the Chief Economist of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) during 2004-2006; Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) during 2011-2013; Director and Chief Executive of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER); and held positions with the Asian Development Bank, Finance and Industries ministries.

Mr Kumar played a key role in Niti Aayog's policymaking, with a focus on agriculture, asset monetisation, disinvestment, aspirational districts programme and electric vehicles, among others. Kumar holds a DPhil in economics from Oxford University and a PhD from Lucknow University. He was also a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR). He earlier served on the central boards of State Bank of India for two terms and on the central board of the RBI.

A column written by Rajiv Kumar appeared in the Hindi daily, Dainik Jagran, in August 2017 after he was named NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman. According to Indian Express, Kumar had called out the foreign influence on Indian policy-making by Indian-American economists and alleged that it was fading at the time with the resignations of Raghuram Rajan as RBI Governor and Panagariya as NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman. He further added that following the 1991 liberalisation, the love for foreign goods declined yet, it took a long time for the country’s policy-making establishment to get rid of the “Macaulayist mentality”.

(with inputs from PTI)

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