Subramanian joined the NDA government in October 2014, just months after it came to power.
New Delhi: Chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian on Wednesday announced his decision to step down after nearly four years at the helm citing “pressing family commitments”. He will be returning to his family in the US soon.
After Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya left his job last year to pursue an academic career, Mr Subramanian is the second big gun in the Narendra Modi government to quit.
Mr Subramanian joined the NDA government in October 2014, just months after it came to power. After his term ended in 2017, he was given a year’s extension. The decision was announced by Union minister Arun Jaitley in a Facebook post.
“Few days ago chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian met me over video-conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back 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,” Mr Jaitley wrote on Facebook.
“Profoundly grateful & humbled by these extraordinarily generous words by Minister @arunjaitley announcing my decision to return. CEA job most rewarding, fulfilling, exciting I have ever had. Many many to thank,” Mr Subramanian tweeted minutes after Mr Jaitley’s Facebook post.
While the minister did not say when the CEA would relinquish office, it is learnt Mr Subramanian will leave in the next two months. “My departure from this job is for entirely personal reasons. It is no secret that we are expecting our first grandchild in early September. That’s a very compelling reason that takes us back to the old life of researching, writing, teaching and reflecting, above all,” he said.
Mr Subramanian was the Dennis Weatherstone Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Development in the US before joining the government.
Mr Jaitley further said that when Mr Subramanian’s three year term in October last year, he 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 the best and most fulfilling he has ever done,” the minister said.
Mr Jaitley, who was finance minister before undergoing a kidney transplant surgery in mid-May, also thanked Mr Subramanian for his contribution to the macro-economic management of the Indian economy. “Personally I will miss his 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 his heart is very much here. I am sure he will keep sending advice and analysis wherever he is,” he wrote.
Mr Jaitley said that Mr Subramanian’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, Aadhaar, Mobile) as a database for availing public benefits. He contributed to the debate of federalism by conceptualising that Indian federalism has not merely to be cooperative but also competitive. He came out with newer ideas, policy reforms in the sectors of clothing, fertilisers, kerosene, power and pulses,” Mr Jaitley said.
Recalling his contribution to formulating the revenue-neutral rate, Mr Jaitley said: “It was of great use in forging a consensus which led to the Constitution amendment enabling GST. He participated in every GST meeting, gave his independent views and was heard in rapt attention by almost every finance minister.”