Niti Aayog ex-CEO to be India’s new G20 sherpa

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the appointment of former Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant as India’s sherpa for the G20, a group representing the world’s largest economies.
Kant, a retired 1980 batch Kerala cadre IAS officer and the person behind “God’s own country” campaign to promote tourism, helmed several initiatives to establish the fledgling government think tank as a test bed for Modi government’s ideas and initiatives. Last month, he stepped down as the CEO of Niti Aayog after a nearly six-and-half year tenure.
His appointment comes ahead of a crucial meeting in Indonesia next week to prepare the ground for the leaders’ summit later in the year. He will be instrumental in setting the agenda for India’s presidency, which will come to the country later this year.
Kant will take over from Union commerce, industry and consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal. Appointed as sherpa in September last year, Goyal had replaced former Union minister Suresh Prabhu.
Sherpas for G20 meetings do the groundwork for their leaders and act as their envoys for several G20 meetings and provide crucial policy inputs.
Government sources said with the G20 presidency coming to India, a full-time sherpa was required as Goyal is tasked with several other pressing duties. Previous sherpas include former Planning Commission chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das and former Niti Aayog VC Arvind Panagariya.

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