Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian Quits, Says "Best Job, Not Without Controversy Sometimes"

Arvind Subramanian, 59, a senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, joined as the Chief Economic Adviser in October 2014.

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Arvind Subramanian joined as the Chief Economic Adviser on October 16, 2014.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Arun Jaitley said Arvind Subramanian going back due to family commitments
  2. The 59-year-old took up the top post in 2014, his term was later extended
  3. He is a St Stephen's College and IIM-Ahmedabad graduate
Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian quit on Wednesday after four years in what he described as "the best job I ever had, not without controversies sometimes." Mr Subramanian wanted to go back to the US for personal reasons, Minister Arun Jaitley had announced in a Facebook post earlier.

"He would like to go back to the United States on account of pressing family commitments... He left me with no option but to agree with him," Arun Jaitley wrote on the premature exit. Mr Subramanian's term ends in May 2019.

Mr Jaitley, who is recovering from surgery, said Mr Subramanian had met him over video-conference a few days ago. "His reasons were personal but extremely important for him," he said.

Mr Subramanian, 59, a senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, became Chief Economic Adviser on October 16, 2014 for a period of three years, which was extended. He took over the job when his predecessor Raghuram Rajan moved on to become RBI governor.

"On the expiry of the three year I had 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," Mr Jaitley said in his post, which was full of praise for Mr Subramanian.

Mr Subramanian built up a "strong team of both insiders and outsiders", said the minister.

"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," Mr Jaitley wrote, ending his glowing tribute with the words that are also the title of his post: "Thank you Arvind".

Mr Subramanian's academic record features Delhi's St Stephen's College, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Ahmedabad and the Oxford University.

His stint as the government's top economic strategist had its rough patches. Two years ago, he was targeted by BJP lawmaker Subramanian Swamy, who demanded his removal claiming that he had been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had worked against India's interests at the WTO. Mr Jaitley had come out in his support, emphasizing that the government had "full confidence" in Mr Subramanian.

This is the third instance in three years of a US-educated Indian economist to leave a top post. Raghuram Rajan was the first to go in 2016; he was not offered a second term as RBI chief. Last year, Arvind Panagariya quit as the head of the Niti Aayog.

Asked about his successor, he said the process would start soon. "The criteria should be competence, competence, competence," he told reporters.


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