After leaving NCAER, Bery, who describes himself as a “commentator on India’s global economic engagement”, worked as energy giant Shell’s chief economist and was subsequently associated with Bruegel, a Brussels-based economic think tank.
He takes over at a time when the government has to tackle rising inflation along with the economic fallout of the war in Ukraine, which has not just pushed up oil and commodity prices but severely hit global supply chains. The panel, whose governing council is chaired by PM Narendra Modi, also has to update its three-year action plan. After Modi took office, he dismantled the Planning Commission and set up Niti Aayog to provide strategic inputs. It has evolved into a high-profile agency that is driving several initiatives —from the aspirational districts programme to production-linked incentive schemes, privatisation and asset monetisation, green energy and sustainable development goals.
Bery will be the third vice-chairman in less than eight years. The move to replace Kumar has been sudden as the tenure of the vicechairman has traditionally been co-terminus with the term of the government.
“Yes. I have stepped down,” Kumar told TOI when asked about the sudden development, without elaborating. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet accepted the resignation of Kumar with effect from April 30.
Bery will initially serve as full-time member and take over from Kumar at the end of the month. He was appointed on the same terms that were applicable to Kumar, who had the rank of a Cabinet minister.
Kumar had taken over in August 2017 after Arvind Panagariya decided to return to his teaching assignment at Columbia University.