Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has announced his intention to relinquish his post and return to the United States. The economist had stepped into Raghuram Rajan's shoes after he took over as RBI Governor. Subramanian took on the job on October 16, 2014, after the post had been lying vacant for over a year. Though his three-year term ended last October, the government had extended his appointment by one year.
In a Facebook post titled 'Thank you Arvind', Union Minister Arun Jaitley today disclosed that the CEA will be leaving the finance ministry because of "pressing family commitments". According to the minister, Subramanian informed him of his decision on a video call a few days ago. "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, adding that Subramanian had felt "torn" between family commitments and his current "fulfilling" job even when the first extension had been offered.
Jaitley, who was the Finance Minister before temporarily relinquishing his portfolio to recuperate from a kidney transplant, also spoke highly of Subramanian's contribution over the years. "His early diagnosis of the twin balance-sheet had led us to adopt the macro-economic strategy of higher public investment in the Budget of 2015-16. He conceptualised JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile) as a data base for availing public benefits... 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," said Jaitley.
The minister further said that the four "Economic Surveys" that Subramanian had presented were "treated by several independent critics as one of the best ever produced", the latest one getting "about 15 million visitors" from 117 countries. "He conducted the first online course on Indian economy for the benefits of students and teachers across the country. He launched the Government's online education platform "Swayam", which became one of the most followed courses in India," added Jaitley, concluding by saying that Subramanian's departure "will be missed".
In response, Subramanian took to Twitter to thank Jaitley. "Profoundly grateful & humbled by these extraordinarily generous words by Minister @arunjaitley announcing my decision to return - for personal reasons - to researching & writing. CEA job most rewarding, fulfilling, exciting I have ever had. Many many to thank," Subramanian tweeted.
He is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington and has reported been on leave from the institute during the time he has served as the CEA.
With PTI inputs