India

Indian media: New policy commission

Mr Modi wants the new policy body to speed up India's growth Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Modi wants the new policy body to speed up India's growth

Papers are discussing the appointment of free-market economist Arvind Panagariya as the vice chairman of the government's new policy commission.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has set up the new National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) to replace the socialist-era Planning Commission.

Papers say the announcement reflects Mr Modi's idea that the Planning Commission had outlived its usefulness and the country needed a new policy body.

The Indian Express reports that the new body will serve as a policy think-tank for the central as well as state governments with the PM as its chairperson.

Observers say Mr Panagariya's appointment to the top post shows the government's interest in creating a free-market economy.

Mr Panagariya, 62, is a professor of economics at New York's Columbia University, a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank and has also worked with the IMF, WTO and World Bank in various capacities, reports the Hindustan Times.

A report in the Economic Times says Mr Panagariya "is known for his market-friendly views and is a close associate of well-known trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati".

Image copyright PTI
Image caption Mr Panagariya is known for his liberal economic policies

The economist has also been known for vocally supporting Mr Modi in the past.

"Much before Mr Modi came to the national scene, Mr Panagariya has been voicing his support for the economic policies of the former Gujarat chief minister during his tenure in the state," the report adds.

The paper, in another report, says the Niti will have a governing council comprising all chief ministers and lieutenant governors and will work towards fostering "co-operative federalism" for providing a "national agenda" to the centre and states rather than take the top-down approach of the erstwhile Planning Commission.

However, the main opposition Congress party has refused to back the government's move.

The party says the new approach will weaken the federal structure of governance in the country.

Thief's nightmare

Meanwhile, in what could be the worst nightmare for a thief, a man was found trapped inside a car while allegedly trying to steal it in the northern town of Ghaziabad on Monday, the Hindustan Times reports.

"He entered the SUV by unlocking the rear door. Then he removed the gear lock with a cutter. In an attempt to start the car, he cut the wires of some electrical fittings because of which the central lock got jammed and the thief was trapped inside," the paper quotes the owner of the car Pradeep Tyagi as saying.

Mr Tyagi, however, decided not to file charges against the man as he seemed "mentally unstable", the paper adds.

Shoe protest

And finally, a man threw a shoe at the chief minister of northern Bihar state, Jitan Ram Manjhi, during a public meeting on Monday, The Times of India reports.

The shoe, however, did not hit the minister and police apprehended the man.

"I have been coming to the 'janta durbar' (public meetings) for the last two years, but nothing happens here," the man screamed as the police took him away.

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