Amitabh Kant named NITI Aayog CEO

The government has appointed Amitabh Kant, secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, as the new CEO of the NITI Aayog.

Kant will hold the additional responsibility to replace Sindhushree Khullar, a 1975-batch Indian Administrative Service officer whose tenure ends on December 31, a government statement said.

The policy think-tank was set up after the Narendra Modi government dismantled the Planning Commission. Modi, as the prime minister, is the chairperson of the NITI Aayog while Columbia University economist Arvind Panagariya is the vice chairperson.

Kant, a 1980-batch IAS officer, took charge at the DIPP in March 2014 and will keep the secretary's position. He is to retire in March 2016. He also serves as the chairman of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation and the National Productivity Council.

Kant has played an important role in the measures taken by the Modi government to make it easier to do business in the country as well as the Make in India initiative to boost manufacturing. 

He has been one of the drivers of the central government's 'Incredible India' campaign and the Kerala government's 'God’s Own Country' initiative to promote tourism. A postgraduate from Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, Kant is also the author of the book Branding India-An Incredible Story.

Besides Kant, the government also made a few other bureaucratic appointments.

Neeraj Kumar Gupta, a 1982-batch IAS officer and special secretary in the Department of Public Enterprises, will replace Aradhana Johri as the new disinvestment secretary. Johri will now be the chairperson of the National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention, an official statement said.

The government is unlikely to meet its disinvestment target for this year, having raised only Rs 12,700 crore so far against an aim of Rs 69,500 crore.

The bureaucratic reshuffle comes as the Modi government prepares for the budget session to present its third budget. With the winter and monsoon sessions being washed out by opposition protests, the government is looking forward to the budget session to pass crucial bills on the Goods and Services Tax and bankruptcy reform.

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