Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday named right-leaning economist Arvind Panagariya to run his new Policy Commission, hammering a final nail into the coffin of socialist planning that defined the first 67 years of independent India.
Panagariya, a professor at Columbia University in New York, will head a bench of thinkers comprising fellow free-market ideologue Bibek Debroy and a former top government scientist who designed a nuclear-capable ballistic missile.
The Indian-born economist’s calls to roll back the state have influenced Modi’s outlook and drawn comparisons, which he rejects, with Margaret Thatcher’s attack on labor regulations and state industry in 1980s Britain.
India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, adopted socialism to industrialize India after independence in 1947, a route that was later partly abandoned as India fell behind giant neighbor China’s rapid economic growth.
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