So the new game in town is called “NITI Ayog” — National Institution for Transforming India — and the news is that Prof Arvind Panagariya will be appointed as the vice-chairman of the institution, as the Hindustan Times reports. That “Niti” bit may sound familiar to some who have been following this blog. If you recall, my book of 2011 is titled “Transforming India” and in 2012, my colleague and I decided that “New Initiatives for Transforming India” or NITI would be a good word to use for all our initiatives related to . . . wait for it . . . transforming India. Why? Because in Sanskrit (and so in Hindi and Bengali), Niti (or नीति in Devanagri) means variously “morality, policy, ethics, the right path” etc. Our goal was to figure out how to bring about — and help in — the transformation of India. We wanted India’s transformation and continue to do so. “NITI Central” was one of those initiatives.
So I am quite tickled to note that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has relabeled the old Planning Commission as the “National Institution for Transforming India”. It is the old planning commission with a new name. Of course, you all know how I feel about central planning and how wonderful it is for human welfare. Anyway, here’s wishing NITI Ayog the best and hoping that it lives up to its meaning.
Correction: I had mistakenly believed that NITI Ayog was “New Institution for Transforming India” but I was corrected (hat tip Anup) that it was actually “National Institution for Transforming India.” I regret the error (as they say in the MSM.)