Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian has stepped down from his post and will return to the United States, Union Minister Arun Jaitley announced on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post, Jaitley wrote that Subramanian’s decision to go back to the US was due to “pressing family commitments”, due to which he had no option but to agree with the latter.
“Few days ago, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the US on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important for him. He left me with no option but to agree with him,” he said.
The Union Minister added that he had requested Subramanian to continue for some more time after the latter’s three-year term expired in October last year.
“Even at that stage, he told me that he was torn between family commitment and his current job, which he considered the best and most fulfilling he has ever done,” he added.
Lauding Subramanian for his expertise and achievements, Jaitley said, “Arvind’s interaction with the Government in the Ministry of Finance, Prime Minister’s Office and with other Departments was both formal and informal. His instantaneous communications with his interlocutors had increased his effectiveness. The Chief Economic Advisor’s job had multi-facets to it. He is not a spokesman of the Government. He is an Advisor who has to analyse and thinks several steps ahead. It is a unique responsibility with freedom to the work that he enjoys. Arvind functioned within these parameters and concentrated on the challenges to the economy.”
The Union Minister said the adoption of macroeconomic strategy of higher public investment in the 2015-16 Union Budget was due to Subramanian’s early diagnosis of the twin balance-sheet. He also said Subramanian conceptualised JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile) as a database for availing public benefits and contributed to the debate of federalism.
Jaitley also heaped praises on Subramanian for coming out with newer ideas and 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,” Jaitley wrote in the post.
He further claimed that Subramanian’s four “Economic Surveys” were treated by several independent critics as one of the best ever produced, and was considered as “basic teaching material” all over the country.
“He thought ahead and, therefore, came out with futuristic ideas on rationalisation of removal of “subsidies for the rich”, universal basic income, climate change, from “socialism without entry and capitalism without exit” and the four C’s that he had historically paralysed decision making. He conducted the first online course on Indian economy for the benefits of students and teachers across the country,” he opined.
Jaitley also credited Subramanian for the launching of “Swayam”, the Centre’s online education platform which became one of the most followed courses in India.
He then went on to say that during his three and a half year tenure, Subramanian built up a strong team of both “insiders” and “outsiders” in the Economic Division of the Finance Ministry.
“Personally I will miss his dynamism, energy, intellectual ability and ideas. He would walk into my room – at times several times a day, addressing me as “Minister” to give either the good news or otherwise. Needless to say, his departure will be missed by me. But I know that his heart is very much here. I am sure he will keep sending advice and analysis wherever he is,”
Responding to the Facebook Post, Subramanian thanked Jaitley for the “extraordinarily generous words”, while describing the post of the chief economic advisor as the “most rewarding, fulfilling and exciting.”
“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:https://m.facebook.com/notes/arun-jaitley/thank-you-arvind/804077679780782/ .,” Subramanian wrote on Twitter.
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:https://t.co/kwsRqDrMTB
— arvind subramanian (@arvindsubraman) June 20, 2018
Subramanian, whose term was to end on October 16 last year, was given a year’s extension by the Centre.
The principal author of the annual Economic Survey, Subramanian took over as the CEA on October 16, 2014, owing to a vacancy post the appointment of Raghuram Rajan as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor in September 2013.