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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Business » Even NITI Aayog members are clueless about its role

Even NITI Aayog members are clueless about its role

By Indivjal Dhasmana
January 06, 2015 10:16 IST
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Bibek Debroy had raised seven questions about the new institution.

As the head of Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, Bibek Debroy had ranked Gujarat the top state in terms of economic freedom in a study released in 2004-05. 

On Monday morning, he raised some questions about the NITI Aayog. By evening, he was appointed one of the full-time members of the new body.

The two instances clearly buttress the point that the pro-reform economist is independent in his thinking and that he does not toe the official line. 

However, Debroy will have to contribute to tackling the same questions he had raised.

For instance, he had wondered who would now determine the special category status of states, as the Aayog has no such role. 

Another question was whether the commission factors in Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan's report in determining the special category status of states? 

Rajan's report, prepared when the United Progressive Alliance government was in power, had drawn flak from the Bharatiya Janata Party for ranking Gujarat quite low in the development index. 

In all, Debroy raised seven questions about the new institution. When the news about his appointment broke out, the 59-year-old economist was with a doctor. "Am with doctor. No snide comments please. Appointment was fixed earlier. Hence incommunicado. While waiting, thinking of 7 answers (sic)," he tweeted. 

Debroy was educated at PresidencyCollege (Calcutta), Delhi School of Economics and TrinityCollege (Cambridge). 

He began his career as a teacher at his alma mater, the Presidency College, and later at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (Pune), Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (Delhi), and National Council of Applied Economic Research (Delhi). 

Debroy had served as a consultant to the Department of Economic Affairs under the finance ministry. After his study on Economic Freedom Index, he took up the post of secretary-general of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

He also worked as director for a project called LARGE (Legal Adjustments and Reforms for Globalising the Economy), set up by the finance ministry and United Nations Development Programme for examining legal reforms in the country. At present, he is with the Centre for Policy Research and is heading a committee to restructure the Railway Board. 

Debroy has authored or edited books on a wide array of subjects such as Foreign trade policy changes and devaluation: Current perspective; India: Redeeming the Economic Pledge; The Indian Perspective on GATT; In the Dock: Absurdities of Indian Law, among others. Notably, his interests do not confine to economics and law, as is evident from the fact that he has penned many books on ancient Hindu epics. The most recent ones are the 10-volume translation on Mahabharata, an epic which deals with niti and aniti (good policy and bad policy).

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Indivjal Dhasmana
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