NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar Steps Down
Following Rajiv Kumar’s abrupt resignation, the government-appointed Suman K Bery as the vice-chairman of NITI Aayog on Friday. According to an official order, Mr. Bery will take over on May 1, 2022. Rajiv Kumar’s term ends on April 30.
Mr. Kumar, an eminent economist, was appointed vice-chairman of NITI Aayog in August 2017 after the previous vice chairman, Arvind Panagariya, left the government think tank to return to academia. According to the order, Mr. Kumar’s resignation was accepted, and he would be relieved of his duties on April 30.
Mr. Kumar was a key policymaker at NITI Aayog, focusing on agriculture, asset monetization, disinvestment, aspirational districts, and electric vehicles, among other things. Kumar has a DPhil in economics from Oxford and a Ph.D. in economics from Lucknow University. In addition, he was a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR).
Rajiv Kumar, the vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, has stepped down after nearly five years at the organisation’s helm. Kumar took over on September 1, 2017, after his predecessor, Arvind Panagariya, resigned. Suman Bery, an economist, is likely to succeed Kumar.
The position of Aayog vice-chairman runs concurrently with the institution’s five-year term. NITI Aayog was reconstituted in 2019 after the BJP-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected for a second term.
Rajiv Kumar did not respond to ET’s calls and messages until the time of the press conference.
During his tenure, he also unveiled the aspirational district program and the development of the Sustainable Development Goal Index for India, in addition to at least a half-dozen other indexes in critical areas.
Suman Bery, who will succeed Kumar and become the Aayog’s third vice chairman in its seven-year history, was the director-general of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) from 2001 to 2011. ET’s calls and messages went unanswered by Bery.
He has also served on the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, the Statistical Commission of India, and the Reserve Bank of India’s Technical Advisory Committee on Monetary Policy.
Suman Bery, a senior visiting fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, is a global fellow in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Asia program in Washington, DC.
Who is the vice-chairman of Niti Aayog?
Suman K. Bery, an economist, will take over as vice-chairman of the Modi government’s public policy think-tank NITI Aayog on 1 May, succeeding Rajiv Kumar.
Kumar, who took over for Arvind Panagariya in August 2017 when the latter decided to return to academia, resigned on Friday.
Bery, a graduate of Magdalene College at the University of Oxford in politics, philosophy, and economics, worked for the World Bank in various capacities from 1972 to 2000, including as an economist in its Public Finance Division and as division chief, economic adviser, and lead economist for the World Bank’s operations in Latin America.
Bery worked as the special consultant to the Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai, from 1992 to 1994, during India’s liberalization period, while on leave from the World Bank.
Bery returned to India in 2001 and became director-general of the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), a non-profit economic think tank based in New Delhi, a position he held until 2011.
“[Dr. Bery] is a very good macroeconomist,” says Ila Patnaik, an economist. “We stayed in touch over the years and collaborated not only at NCAER, but on many other projects as well.”
He has also served on the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, the Reserve Bank of India’s Technical Advisory Committee, and the National Statistical Commission.
Suman Bery was the chief economist of Shell International, based in The Hague, The Netherlands, from early 2012 to mid-2016. The Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel and a Senior Fellow at the Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth.
“He counseled the board members of Royal Dutch Shell on international economic and financial trends,” Asia Current. “While at Shell, he was also a component of the top leaders of Shell’s worldwide scenarios group, wherein he managed a joint effort with Indian think tanks to apply scenario simulation to India’s energy industry.”
The importance of the G-20 in creating world economic policy is one of the topics. In 2018, he advocated for “increased conversation and cooperation between India and China on global concerns” in order to “sustain global growth.”
“Reform of the G20’s processes is important to achieve a good balance between resources used and economic effects,” he wrote in the article.
A few years later, in October 2021, he was critical of the G20 for its economic response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its failure to aid the world’s poorest nations.
One of the topics on which Dr. Bery has written extensively is the G-20’s role in shaping global economic policy. In 2018, he advocated for “enhanced dialogue and cooperation between India and China on global challenges” to achieve the overarching goal of “sustaining global growth.”
“To create a better balance between resources consumed and economic impact, reform of the G20’s processes is required,” he wrote in the column.
In October 2021, he criticized the G20 for its economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic and failed to assist the world’s poorest nations.
“Access to vaccines is critical to economic recovery,” he wrote for Bruegel in a piece co-authored with research analyst Pauline Weil. “Although the G20 has reaffirmed some commitments to ensuring global vaccine access, including in the Action Plan review in October 2021, it has so far fallen short of avoiding large disparities in vaccination rates.”
The G20 is the appropriate forum for addressing the persistent shortcomings in addressing health crises in developing countries. Indonesia and India will be the next G20 chairs in 2022. (2023). They should use diplomacy to promote global solidarity, not just on climate issues but also on all matters.”
Bery has also written about the significance of India’s economic diplomacy shortly, as well as the role of unilateralism. As per Standards, he wrote in one of his articles, “The world has moved on from global institutions to b2b markets among sovereigns.” “As previously stated, India has long held a seat at the top table. As the year 2022 approaches, we must decide what to order from the menu.”
Edited by Prakriti Arora