Prime Minister Narendra Modi has presented a unique farewell gift to Arvind Panagariya, who left Niti Aayog as Vice Chairman yesterday. PM Modi has gifted a painting of Vadnagar, his hometown in Gujarat to Panagariya. Panagariya today took to Twitter to express his gratitude and said he was ‘deeply touched’ by PM Modi’s gesture. Noted economist Rajiv Kumar on Friday took over as the vice-chairman of the government think tank. This is not the first instance that PM Modi has indicated his appreciation to those demitting office. Last month, PM Modi wrote a heartfelt letter to Pranab Mukherjee on his last day in office as President of India.
On August 1, Panagariya had said he has written to PM Modi to relieve him of his duties by August 31 as he was not getting an extension of leave from Columbia University. The Indian-American economist and Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University, Panagariya had joined as the first Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog, which had replaced the Planning Commission, in January 2015. The 64-year-old had said the work he was doing at the university would be very difficult to get at his age, PTI reported.
Take a look at Arvind Panagariya’s tweet
— Arvind Panagariya (@APanagariya) September 1, 2017
On August 22, PM Modi had showered lavish praise on Panagariya, saying he has quietly done marvels in shaping the new body that replaced the Planning Commission. “I want to especially thank Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya, who is showing how work is done in mission mode… He has done good work and the country will always remember him and his contribution,” Modi was quoted as saying by PTI.
“Panagariya has worked for 45 years in the US and was not considering returning to India,” PM Modi had said. He added that “he is my good friend. I told him that you have earned enough money and now devote some time to the country. He agreed to that and served the Niti Aayog for about 3 years”. Although Panagariya is headed to the US, he is still working, Modi said. He went on to say: “There is no dearth of people like him, who are ready to work for the country. It is because of these people that I have initiated the mission 2022.”