Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has expressed his desire to return to the United States “on account of pressing family commitments”. His term was scheduled to end in October.
“His reasons were personal but extremely important for him,” Jaitley wrote in a Facebook post. “He left me with no option but to agree with him.”
Subramanian joined the Narendra Modi government as chief economic advisor in October 2014 for a three-year term. In September, his term was extended by a year.
In a press conference, the economist said the role of chief economic advisor was the best job he has ever had. “It was enriching and exciting,” Subramanian said. “I will go back with the happiest memories of this tenure. I will always be committed to serving the country in future.” He said the Goods and Services Tax was a “monumental achievement” and that he was proud to be associated with it.
Subramanian said his last date in the ministry has not been decided yet.
Jaitley said Subramanian concentrated on the challenges to the economy during his term, and proposed new ideas and policy reforms in sectors such as clothing, fertilisers, kerosene and pulses. His report on the Revenue Neutral Rate helped forge a consensus that enabled the formation of the Goods and Services Tax, the minister added.
“Arvind elevated the quality of the analysis and the presentation of ideas for public deliberation in his four ‘Economic Surveys’,” Jaitley wrote. “His documents for four years was treated by several independent critics as one of the best ever produced.”
Subramanian also launched the government’s online education platform, Swayam, which became one of the most followed courses in India, according to Jaitley.
“I will miss his dynamism, energy, intellectual ability and ideas,” Jaitley said. “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. I wish Arvind Subramanian and his family all the very best.”
In 2011, Subramanian was named among the top 100 thinkers of the world by Foreign Policy.
This is no surprise, says Congress
The Congress on Wednesday said Subramanian’s resignation was not a surprise as all “financial experts” in the Modi government are fed up of its “collossal economic mismanagement and financial anarchy’’. Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala cited the examples of former NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya and ex-Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the brightest people in the government are quitting. “Ex? FM is locked in his room, breaking news on Facebook,” tweeted Gandhi. “BJP Treasurer has the keys to the Indian Economy. The brightest flee the sinking ship, as the “invisible hand” of the RSS steers it onto the rocks. Meanwhile, Captain DeMo is fast asleep. It’s crazy out there!”
Next CEA should believe in Indian values: RSS affiliate
A Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh affiliate said the next chief economic advisor should be one who believes in Indian ethos and values. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch accused Subramanian of ignoring farmers.
“Subramanian lacked knowledge about India, he was obsessed with only Foreign Direct Investment and ignored the most important aspect of our economy – agriculture and farmers,” outfit co-convener Ashwani Mahajan told PTI.
In a tweet, Mahajan requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see to it that the next advisor is one who has “faith in farmers, workers and entrepreneurs of Bharat and is not on sabbatical.”