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NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya resigns



NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015 to head the revamped version of the Planning Commission, Panagariya wants to return to academia, take up his teaching assignment at Columbia University in New York

In what would come as a major personal setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a time when the Indian economy isn’t showing any great signs of resurgence, Arvind Panagariya has resigned from his role as vice-chairman of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. An economist of repute, Panagariya will serve in the NITI Aayog till August 31, before returning to his previous teaching role at Columbia University in New York.

In January 2015 when the six decade old Planning Commission was scrapped by the Union government and replaced with the NITI Aayog, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had handpicked Panagariya for the post of its vice-chairman. The revamped think tank, although with powers that were far more curtailed than the ones enjoyed by the Planning Commission, was to act as a policy think tank for the Modi administration and guide it on key reforms in sectors like the economy, agriculture, federal responsibilities, et al.

However, at a time when the government continues to face tough questions on its two main reform measures – demonetisation and the GST regime – Panagariya’s exit could come as a personal setback for Modi.

Going by the convention followed by the erstwhile Planning Commission, the term of the NITI Aayog vice-chairman was to be co-terminus with that of the Prime Minister, who is the Chairperson of the body.

What triggered Panagariya to actually put in his papers is not known. The official reason being stated is his desire to return to academia but that does not seem entirely believable. “My leave in Columbia University is coming to an end on September 5 and I decided to join back,” was all that Panagariya said about his resignation on Tuesday.

Going by Panagariya’s record in office, he seemed perfectly in-sync with the Modi government’s actions on the economy and general policy legislation – something that previous heads of the Planning Commission didn’t always seem to care about while speaking on the initiatives of respective governments of their time.

Sources say Panagariya, despite the unwavering support of the Prime Minister, had several detractors within the Union government, and perhaps more importantly, in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. His advice to the government to revamp labour laws and take an aggressive step on elimination of subsidies of all kinds was something that the RSS and some members of the BJP and its government did not find palatable.

At NITI Aayog, Panagariya oversaw several critical reforms that the Modi wanted to bring about, including the merger of the railway and general budgets, change of financial year from April-March to January-December and the elimination of the 5-year plan system of policy making.

Panagariya, a PhD from Princeton University, is a protégé of internationally renowned economist Jagdish Bhagwati and was Professor of Economics and of Indian Political Economy at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University before he was persuaded by Modi to return to India and head the NITI Aayog.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

India News

Bypolls results: INDIA bloc sweeps 10 seats, 2 for BJP, independent 1, across 7 states

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said three out of four seats were of BJP which have now been won by TMC.



The Opposition bloc INDIA swept the by-elections winning 10 out of 13 seats, while the BJP won only two seats across seven states. The independent candidate, Shankar Singh, won the Rupauli seat in Bihar’s Purnea, defeating JDU’s Kaladhar Prasad Mandal by a margin of 8,246 votes.

In Punjab, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Mohinder Bhagat has won the Jalandhar West Assembly seat, defeating his rival, BJP candidate Sheetal Angural, by a massive margin of more than 37,000 votes. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is leading on 4 seats in West Bengal.

The by-elections in 13 Assembly constituencies across seven States concluded on July 10. The Assembly seats included Badrinath and Manglaur seats in Uttarakhand; Rupauli in Bihar; Raiganj seat, Ranaghat Dakshin seat, Bagda and Maniktala seat in West Bengal; Vikravandi in Tamil Nadu; Amarwara in Madhya Pradesh; Jalandhar West in Punjab and Dehra, Hamirpur and Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh.

In Himachal Pradesh, Kamlesh Thakur, wife of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, has won the Dehra constituency. The Congress has secured the Nalagarh seat as well, while the BJP managed to win the Hamirpur seat.

On the by-elections in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said three out of four seats were of BJP which have now been won by TMC. Thanking the people of Bengal, she said this victory is the victory of the people.

Addressing a press conference, Congress leader Pawan Khera said that these by-elections which were held on 13 seats are very important. For the second time in one and a half months, the people of the country gave a strong message to the BJP, he added.

He said the message was very clear in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress leader also spoke about the by-poll result in Uttarakhand and said the party has won both its seats, Badrinath and Manglaur. In Himachal Pradesh, Congress won 2 out of 3 seats, he further said.

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India News

Baba Ramdev joins celebration, dances with the groom at Anant Ambani-Radhika Merchant wedding

The four-day celebration starts with traditional Hindu wedding rituals like haldi, mehndi, and sangeet and will be followed by a magnificent reception over the weekend.



Yoga guru Baba Ramdev was among the guests at the grand wedding of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant, held at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai on Friday. The Yoga guru was accompanied by his close advisor, Acharya Balkrishna. Ramdev has been seen dancing in a video shared on social media with the groom as a Barati.

Anant Ambani, the youngest son of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani, married his childhood sweetheart Radhika Merchant this Friday. The event was an over-the-top affair, attended by global celebrities, business tycoons, sports personalities and politicians. The wedding rituals, which included exchanging garlands and walking around the holy fire, began on Friday and went on past midnight.

The celebrations took place at the Ambani-owned Jio World Convention Centre and the family home. The wedding marked the height of months of events, featuring performances by pop stars like Rihanna, Rema and Justin Bieber. The four-day celebration starts with traditional Hindu wedding rituals like haldi, mehndi, and sangeet and will be followed by a magnificent reception over the weekend.

The guest list comprises prominent personalities such as former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Boris Johnson, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser, and celebrities like Adele, Lana Del Rey, Drake, John Cena Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Law Roach, and David Beckham. Almost each and every international guest wore traditional Indian attire designed by major Indian fashion designers.

Anant Ambani, 29, is responsible for the corporation’s renewable and green energy creativities and also runs a 3,000-acre animal rescue centre named ‘Vantara’ in Jamnagar, Gujarat, the family’s hometown. The bride, Radhika Merchant, 29, is the daughter of pharmaceutical tycoon Viren Merchant and serves as the marketing director for his company, Encore Healthcare.

The wedding celebrations are expected to continue through the weekend, with a grand reception planned to cap off the festivities.

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India News

Jammu and Kashmir: Home Ministry amends Reorganisation Act to boost LG power

In the Transaction of Business Rules, sub-rule 2A has been inserted after sub-rule (2) in rule 5.



The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the rules of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act to give more power to the Lieutenant Governor. The MHA notified the amended Rules under Section 55 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 inserting new Sections giving more power to the LG.

According to the information, only the transaction of Business Rules has been amended. Nothing new has been provided in these rules. It is already mentioned in the State Reorganization Act (SRA) of 2019. The current amendment to rules is just a clarificatory in nature flowing from the existing provisions of SRA 2019.

In the Transaction of Business Rules, sub-rule 2A has been inserted after sub-rule (2) in rule 5.

With the amendment, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir will exercise more power on matters of transfers and postings of all-India service officers like the IAS and IPS, police, law and order as well as the appointment of judicial officers, as per the official notification. 

President Droupadi Murmu approved the amendments in the rule exercising the powers conferred by Section 55 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, (34 of 2019) read with the Proclamation dated October 31, 2019, issued under Section 73 of the Act, as per the notification issued by the MHA. 

The notification further said that the President has made the rules further to amend the Transaction of Business of the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Rules, 2019. These rules may be called the Transaction of Business of the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (Second Amendment) Rules, 2024, the notification suggests further. 

The amendments came into force on July 12, the date of the publication in the Official Gazette; a move in anticipation of the speculated assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.  

Reacting to the Amendment, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said another indicator that elections are around the corner in J&K. This is why a firm commitment to laying out the timeline for restoration of full, undiluted statehood for J&K is a prerequisite for these elections, he added.

The people of J&K deserve better than a powerless, rubber-stamp CM who will have to beg the LG to get his/her peon appointed, he asserted.

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