NEW DELHI: In an abrupt move, Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian has announced to head back to the United States, ending his tenure 10 months in advance, citing personal commitments.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley announced the CEA’s resignation through a Facebook post titled ‘Thank you Arvind’ on Wednesday, where he disclosed that the CEA will be leaving the Finance Ministry because of “pressing family commitments”.
“His reasons were personal but extremely important for him. He left me with no option but to agree with him,” Jaitley wrote in the post.
Subramanian also shared the news of him expecting a grandchild in September and added that he will “go back with best of memories, adding that in Jaitley he had a “dream boss”.
“There are still some formalities to be done. But I will be staying for a month or two,” Subramanian told reporters.
Before joining the government, in October 2014, Arvind Subramanian, was the Dennis Weatherstone senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Subramanian was handpicked by Modi government to step into shoes of Raghuram Rajan, who had moved on to become Reserve Bank of India governor.
After completing his tenure, he was given an extension till May 2019. He plans to join research and writing, following the footsteps of another economist Arvind
Panagriya, who last year left his tenure as the vice president of Niti Aayog in midterm and decided to go back to academics. Despite indications that he was ignored on issues like demonetisation, bad banks, and simplification of tax slabs under Goods and Services Tax (GST), Subramanian is credited with mooting universal basic income, early diagnosis of twin balance sheet, removing subsidies and also for introducing topics like impact of climate change on farmer’s income, gender parity and urbanisation in economic surveys.
Subramanian, who has already learnt to watch his steps on delicate topics, did not answer any question uncomfortable question on demonetisation. He signed off with a cautionary note that “economic condition has deteriorated and it will be difficult to achieve double digits in immediate future, given external economic conditions.
Even when Subramanian has said that the hunt for his predecessor is on, highly placed sources at finance ministry has ruled out any immediate replacement.
“I do not think that there will be immediate appointment so far. He will hang out for next two months. Even in 2013, the post was vacant for almost one year. What government is more keen on is chief statistician,” a senior official from finance ministry told The New Indian Express.