Sitharaman Wanted Me Out of Fin Min: Ex-Finance Secy Subhash Garg

In his blog, Garg has says that he did not wish to work in the government apart from the Ministry of Finance.

2 min read
Former Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg.

Subhash Chandra Garg, the former finance secretary, who was shunted out of the finance ministry weeks after the first budget of Modi 2.0, on Saturday, 31 October, alleged that the then-new Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman got him transferred.

"She, for reasons not very clearly known to me, came with some pre-conceived notions about me. She did not seem to have confidence in me. She was not quite comfortable working with me as well," Garg wrote in a blog on the day he would have retired in the normal course if not for the VRS.

“Mrs Sitaraman asked for and insisted on my transfer from the Ministry of Finance in June 2019 itself, within one month of her taking over as FM,” he added.

Garg was critical of Sitharaman’s handling of the Finance Ministry and wrote that Sitharaman had a “different personality, knowledge endowment, skill-set and approach for economic policy issues and also for the officers working with her.”

Garg writes that Sitharaman wanted him out in June 2019, ahead of budget presentation that took place on 5 July. He was transferred out on 24 July 2019, to the Ministry of Power, and he applied for voluntary retirement within half an hour of receiving the order.

Garg praised her predecessor, Arun Jaitley, for his deep knowledge and understanding of the economy. Arun Jaitly “was a mastermind with an uncanny ability to sift through massive amounts of information and government files to discover the pith and substance of the public policy issue involved”, he wrote.

Garg said that while the government did talk about making India a USD 5 trillion economy after winning the reelection in 2019, but the reform agenda and the investment plan for attaining the goal of USD 10 trillion economy articulated in the Interim Budget 2019-20 got side-tracked and was virtually forgotten.

“The Government was turning populist as well,” he said.

He realised working with Sitharaman was going to be quite difficult and it might not “be conducive to undertaking necessary reforms for the attainment of the objective of building a USD 10 trillion economy of India.”

Garg, who is a 1983 batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre joined the Central government in 2014 and was appointed the Executive Director in the World Bank. In June 2017, he was appointed DEA Secretary and later in March 2019, he became the Finance Secretary.

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