NEW DELHI: Going by an ad for his replacement, Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu seems to be on his way back to Cornell University. The CEA plays a key role in writing the Economic Survey, which is the official account of economic activities of the government during the fiscal year. Basu’s predecessor at the ministry was Arvind Virmani, who has gone to the International Monetary Fund as an executive director.
Is Basu packing his bags already? Does the fact that a fresh advertisement has been released indicate a new successor is on the way? No new advertisement would have been needed in case Basu is getting another extension. The selection process normally takes around three months, which is roughly the time he has left in office.
This also indicates, there may be changes at the top leadership levels in the finance ministry, sources said. They say Basu is going back to a familiar place where he can freely market his marketability and market economics. At Cornell, he was also the Professor for Centre for Analytic Economics and Program on Comparative Economic Development. After doing BA (Hons.) in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, Basu completed M.Sc. and then a Ph.D in Economics from the London School of Economics. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2008, barely a year before he joined the finance ministry. Basu, who had received the National Mahalanobis Memorial Medal in 1989, is a Fellow of the Econometric Society since 1991.
However, speculations are also on in the finance ministry and the PMO whether Basu will be asked to remain one last time on an ad hoc basis.People who know him say that Basu wouldn’t have made such a strong prognosis at a public speech abroad unless he already knew it was time to go.