Montek Singh Ahluwalia is back at Planning Commission as its deputy chairman along with three new members - economists Saumitra Chaudhuri and Mihir Shah, and honorary vice chancellor of Pune University Narendra Jadhav.
Human rights activist Syeda Hameed, economist Abhijit Sen, and former cabinet secretary B.K. Chaturvedi have been retained as members of the panel that frames long-term strategies for the country's development and allocates resources accordingly.
The prime minister serves as the chairperson of the panel that also prepares India's five-year plans and the annual plans for state governments.
"The new list of deputy chairman and members was finalised by the prime minister today. Some more members may be inducted later," said an official in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office.
Five previous members have been excluded - Kirit S. Parekh, V.L. Chopra, B. Mungenkar, B.N. Yugandhar and Anwarul Hoda. They had submitted their resignations after the previous government had completed its term.
Ahluwalia, who was the front-runner for a second term at Yojana Bhavan, is an Oxford-educated economist and has worked closely with Manmohan Singh, when the latter was finance minister 1991-1996.
A former official of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Ahluwalia was also Manmohan Singh's sherpa, or key aide, during the G20 Summit on financial crisis in Washington in November last year and in London this April.
According to PMO officials, the prime minister, who handpicked the members, is keen that the plan panel adopts a proactive role in helping the government meet its targets.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has outlined ambitious tasks in areas like rural development, urban renewal, health, education and infrastructure and the plan panel will need to play a crucial role in ensuring the participation of states in this regard.