Outgoing Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian, while speaking to reporters on 20 June, said that he would go back with the “best of memories.”
Subramanian will be leaving the finance ministry after nearly four years because of "pressing family commitments" and will return to the US, Union Minister Arun Jaitley announced in a Facebook post earlier in the day.
“I will go back with best of memories. I will always be committed to serving the country at all times in future,” he said, adding that in Jaitley he had a “dream boss”.
In reaction to Jaitley’s post, Subramanian took to Twitter to thank him.
At a press conference in Delhi, Subramanian said that he doesn’t know the exact date of his departure, but “would be leaving in a month or two.”
On being asked if he was present in the capital on the day demonetisation was announced, he nodded, saying, “I was very much in Delhi.”
Looking back at his tenure, the 59-year-old said, “It is incumbent upon us, especially people like me, to acknowledge that there are things we did not get right,” Money Control reported.
India will find it challenging to achieve double-digit growth in the near future due to the deteriorating external economic environment, Subramanian said.
Owing to popular demand for implementation of “Office of CEA” in various states, he said cited that it was a wish left unfulfilled, Money Control reported.
"Have not given up on the idea of Universal Basic Income,” the report quoted him as saying.
Showering praises on GST, Subramanian said he would “like alcohol to also come under the GST at some point.”
To achieve double-digit growth, you need two things – a favourable external environment, which is not the case, and you have to do a lot of domestic policy hard work. I think the government has begun to do the latter.Arvind Subramanian, Outgoing CEA said
He also said that, “Soon the process will be started for choosing my successor, let us see how it turns out.”
Subramanian also shared the news of him expecting a grandchild in September.
“Thank You Arvind, I Will Miss You”: Arun Jaitley
In his blog, Jaitley said that a few days ago, Subramanian had met him over video conferencing and informed him that he would like to return to the United States 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," Jaitley wrote in a Facebook post.
“On the expiry of the three years, I requested him to continue for some more time. 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," Jaitley wrote in his farewell post for Subramanian.
Outlining some of his key achievements, the minister said Subramanian’s four Economic Surveys “have been judged by several independent critics as some of the best ever produced”.
"He would walk into my room – at times several times a day – addressing me as 'Minister', to give either a good news or otherwise. Needless to say his departure will be missed by me," Jaitley wrote.
In full praise, Jaitley ended his post with the words, “Thank you, Arvind”.
Jaitley Recounts Subramanian’s Contributions
Subramanian, a former economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), became Chief Economic Adviser on 16 October 2014 for a period of three years, which was extended. He took over the job when his predecessor Raghuram Rajan moved on to become the RBI governor.
He had originally planned to return to his family in the US at the end of three years, reported Mint.
In his post, Jaitley mentioned that Subramanian worked on the removal of “subsidies for the rich”, universal basic income, and climate change during his tenure.
He also conducted the first online course on Indian economy for the benefit of students and teachers across the country.
Besides that, he launched the government's online education platform 'Swayam', which became one of the most followed courses in India.
Subramanian,59, is an alumnus of Delhi's St Stephen's College, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Ahmedabad and the Oxford University.
According to Firstpost, Subramanian is also the author of two books, India's Turn: Understanding the Economic Transformation and Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance. That apart, he has co-authored Who Needs to Open the Capital Account?.
Subramanian's Resignation No Surprise; Experts Fed up by Financial Anarchy: Cong
Subramanian is the third Indian-academic economist to return to the US after leaving the government during PM Modi’s term. In August last year, Arvind Panagariya, professor of economics at Columbia University, quit as the head of panning body NITI Aayog before completing his term.
About a year ago, Raghuram Rajan had decided to leave after his three-year term ended as RBI governor.
The Congress said the resignation has not come as a surprise as all 'financial experts' in Modi government are fed up of its 'collossal economic mismanagement'' and are stepping down, PTI reported.
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala cited examples of ex-Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan in this regard.
"Financial experts' of Modi government are completely fed up by its colossal economic mismanagement, tepid economic reforms and financial anarchy," he said on Twitter.
(With inputs from Money Control, ANI and PTI)