The Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, Arvind Subramanian has asked Arun Jaitley to allow him to leave the position months before his term ends in the month of October. He is leaving the position before the end of the tern due to “pressing family commitments” which left Arun Jaitley with no option but to agree with him. He was appointed as Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) in October 2014 for a three-year tenure but his term was extended by one year. His decision to quit the job was announced by senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley in a Facebook post titled “Thank you, Arvind.”
In the post, Jaitley highlighted the efforts and initiatives by Arvind Subramanian as CEA, he wrote “His early diagnosis of the twin balance-sheet had led us to adopt the macroeconomic strategy of higher public investment in the Budget of 2015-16. He conceptualized JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, and Mobile) as a database for availing public benefits. He contributed to the debate of federalism by conceptualizing that the Indian federalism has not merely to be cooperative but also competitive. He came out with newer ideas, policy reforms in the sectors of clothing, fertilizers, kerosene, power, and pulses. His report on the Revenue Neutral Rate was of great use in forging a consensus which led to the constitution amendment enabling the GST. He participated in every meeting of GST, gave his independent views and was heard in rapt attention by almost every Finance Minister. He elevated the quality of the analysis and the presentation of ideas for public deliberation in his four “Economic Surveys”. His documents for four years were treated by several independent critics as one of the best ever produced.”
As of now it is not clear whether the government will appoint a new Chief Economic Advisor immediately or not, because Sanjeev Sanyal already holds the post of Principal Economic Advisor in the Finance Ministry. The functions of CEA and Principal Economic Advisor overlap to a large extent, and therefore, the government may not appoint a CEA very soon or it may elevate Sanjeev Sanyal as CEA. The other person who could be appointed as CEA is PM Economic Advisory Council (PM-EAC) Chairman and member of NITI Aayog Bibek Debroy. Debroy is influential in policy circles and among the most influential intellectuals in the current government. Last year in October when Arvind Subramanian’s term was about to end, even then there were talks of appointing Bibek Debroy as CEA. The Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) is the economic advisor to the Government of India. The CEA is the ex-officio cadre controlling authority of the Indian Economic Service. He is under the direct charge of the Minister of Finance.
Arvind Subramanian is considered one of the most influential economists in the world. Foreign Policy named him one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers in 2011. Before joining Finance ministry as CEA, he had served as the Dennis Weatherstone Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, both located in Washington DC. He is one of the most influential experts on the Chinese and Indian economies and formerly worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He is an author of two books, India’s Turn: Understanding the Economic Transformation published in 2008, Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance published in September 2011, and co-author of Who Needs to Open the Capital Account? published in 2012. He studied economics at St Stephen’s College, Delhi for bachelors and then proceeded to IIM Ahmedabad for MBA. He holds M.Phil and D.Phil degrees from the University of Oxford on an Inlaks Scholarship. The country benefitted from his expertise in the field during his tenure as CEA, and the nation and its people are thankful for his contributions.