New Delhi: Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, who succeeded the high-profile Raghuram Rajan in the Finance Ministry in 2014, has quit the government with plans to go back to the US for research and writing.
The news about Subramanian leaving the Finance Ministry was broken by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who wrote a Facebook post saying that he (Subramanian) had told him a few days ago that he wanted to go back to the US due to family commitments and he agreed with him.
“Few days ago 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,” Jaitley said, adding that his reasons were “personal but extremely important” to him.
Subramanian had joined as the CEA on October 16, 2014 for a period of three years after which Jaitley had requested him to continue for some more time.
“Even at that stage he told me that he was torn between family commitments and his current job which he considered as the best and most fulfilling he has ever done.”
This is the third high-level exit from the government after the departure of Raghuram Rajan as RBI Governor and the sudden resignation by NITI Aayog Deputy Chairman Arvind Panagriya.
Jaitley said Subramanian’s interactions with the government in the Finance Ministry, PMO and with other department were both formal and informal. His instantaneous communications with his interlocutors had increased his effectiveness.
The Minister said the CEA’s early diagnosis of the twin balance sheet had led the government 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. His report on the revenue neutral rate in the GST was of great use in forging a consensus which led to the constitution amendment enabling the GST, he said.
“Personally I will miss 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,” Jaitley said.
Subramanian told the media that the last working day had not been finalised and he was likely to leave in a month or two.
“In terms of the date, the last deadline is early September… We haven’t exactly finalised. It will be over the next month or two,” he said, adding that his official contract was till May 2019.
He described his tenure as CEA as “rewarding, fulfilling, exciting… not without controversy once in a while.
“It’s been the best job I have ever had, and I am pretty sure this will be the best job I will ever have,” Subramanian said.
Thanking Jaitley for his good words about him, he described Jaitley as a “dream boss”.
“Profoundly grateful and humbled by these extraordinarily generous words by Minister announcing my decision to return-for personal reasons-to researching and writing. CEA job most rewarding, fulfilling, exciting I have ever had. Many many thanks,” he said on Twitter.
He also thanked his colleagues Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, describing them as “fabulous colleagues”.
Writing about the satisfactory achievements during his tenure in his statment on Twitter, he said helping forge a consensus on the Constitutional amendment for the Goods and Services Tax was a major one.
To provide frequent macro analysis to the government and the Financial Stability and Development Council was also a major satisfaction, he said.
He and his team was also able to push for new ideas such as subsidies for the well-off and Universal Basic Income and “bad bank”, which he counted as a satisfactory achievement.