NEW DELHI: A day after he was abruptly transferred to the power ministry, Union finance secretary Subhash Chandra Garg sought voluntary retirement on Thursday, 15 months ahead of his official retirement date in October next year.“Handed over charge of Economic Affairs today... Will take charge in Power Ministry tomorrow.
Have also applied for Voluntary Retirement from the IAS with effect from 31st October. Last tweet from this handle,” Garg signed off from his official twitter handle on Thursday.
A 1983 IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, he was appointed World Bank Executive Director in 2014. He was made Secretary DEA in June 2017 and became close to the political power centre, becoming one of the most powerful finance secretaries.But, his stint was full of controversies. He “burnt too many bridges”, said a finance ministry source, explaining why his unceremonious exit did not come as surprise to many.
Garg’s stance irked babus, economists
It all started with a fight with the RBI panel on the central bank’s capital framework or the amount of money RBI can keep as reserves. Even right-wing economists felt his hardline stance had gone too far, leading to the ouster of RBI governor Urjit Patel and deputy governor Viral Acharya.
Many members of the Bimal Jalan panel also privately complained about his arrogant posture and rude comments during meetings. His fiscal management policy also did not go down well with many, including some of Prime Minister Modi’s biggest supporters and the PMEAC. The last nail in the coffin, some feel, were some Budget provisions including the decision to borrow in the overseas market.
The issue saw PMEAC members like economist Rathin Roy openly criticise the move. His recent handling of SEBI was the latest. “Disagreements are common, but in this case, his manner was too rough for the comfort of Sebi Chairman Ajay Tyagi, who wrote to the finance ministry seeking a review of the Budget proposal mandating transfer of 75 per cent of Sebi’s surplus funds to the Centre,” a finance ministry source said. Garg did not respond to requests for comments.