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New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, has approved the reconstitution of the policy think tank of the government, NITI Aayog, ahead of its first meeting in the National Democratic Alliance’s second term on June 15. Modi also introduced key Cabinet ministers as ex-officio members. Defence minister Rajnath Singh, Home minister Amit Shah, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Agriculture minister Narendra Singh are now ex-officio members of the think tank that is headed by Modi, the government said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Transport minister Nitin Gadkari, commerce and industry and railway minister Piyush Goyal, social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot and statistics minister Rao Inderjit Singh will be special invitees to the panel. The panel’s current members V.K. Saraswat, Ramesh Chand and V.K. Paul have been repeated.

Prime Minister will chair the fifth meeting of Niti Aayog’s Governing Council on June 15, to discuss various issues concerning water management, agriculture and security, official sources said Tuesday. The council, the top body of Niti Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials. This will be the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government.

Arvind Panagariya was the first vice-chairman of the Aayog. He was replaced by Kumar in September 2017.

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