Behind the quiet and unheralded exit of former NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM). While Panagariya has cited inability to get his leave extended by the Columbia University, the Manch has been needling the Aayog on several issues for being opposed to the governing dispensation’s ideology.
In the battle of wills and points of view, the last straw seems to have been over the formation of a committee to fix drug prices for the poor. SJM National Co-Convener Ashwani Mahajan is said to have complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the health ministry and pharma industries were in cahoots with the NITI Aayog on the committee. The SJM went public saying the NITI Aayog was anti-poor for not reducing drug costs.
Mahajan spoke to Newslaundry about the circumstances that led to the adversarial positions of the SJM and the Panagariya-led NITI Aayog. He said the NITI Aayog has not done a single thing for which it had been created three years ago.
In a sharp dig at the Indian-American Panagariya, Mahajan maintained that people who are being parachuted into the country to solve problems have no inkling of issues faced by the common man and the poor.
The author can be contacted on Twitter @Beech_Bazaar.