The Centre on Tuesday appointed economist Surjit Bhalla as the executive director for India at the International Monetary Fund, PTI reported. He is a former part-time member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, a position he quit on December 1 last year.

Bhalla’s appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bhalla will be in the post for a period of three years.

Bhalla is usually supportive of the government, but in a column in The Indian Express on the day of his resignation, he had written that he had, like some others, found it inappropriate for the NITI Aayog to be directly involved in the presentation of statistical data by the Central Statistical Organisation.

He was apparently referring to data released by the NITI Aayog and the Central Statistics Office three days earlier, in which the government revised down the GDP growth rates for the 2006-’12 period, saying it had recalibrated the data to reflect a more accurate picture of the economy. The country was ruled by a Congress-led government during that period.

The Economic Advisory Council was set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2017 in a bid to bring in reforms to the financial system. Last week, the government reconstituted the council, and left out two members, Rathin Roy and Shamika Ravi, who had recently expressed concerns about the economy.

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