CEA Subramanian to leave finance ministry, will return to academia

CEA Subramanian to leave finance ministry, will return to academia


Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Krishnamurthy Subramanian on Friday announced that he is stepping down from his post. Subramanian, whose tenure is ending on December 6, stated that he has decided to return to academia.

The announcement has come ahead of the Budgetary exercise for FY23 starting from October 12. Sources indicated that government would soon start the selection process and invite application for new appointment on deputation basis. However even if his successor is appointed in time, he will have only a few months to pen economic survey of FY22.

“Being provided the opportunity to contribute during a period of tremendous uncertainty and epochal change has been the lucky icing on the cake. So, while being conscious of the enormous privilege bestowed on me, I will happily return back to serving the country as a researcher after fulfilling my three-year commitment,” Subramanian said in a long statement.

Subramanian had taken over the charge of CEA on December 7, 2018, nearly five months after his predecessor Arvind Subramanian had left the role. Arvind Subramanian in 2018, had quit the job, with close to a year of his tenure remaining, and return to the US for “very compelling reasons”.

Fifty-year-old Subramanian emphasised in his note that he received tremendous support from the government and was fortunate enough to enjoy warm relationships with senior functionaries.

“I am yet to encounter a more inspiring leader than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His intuitive understanding of economic policy combines with an unmistakeable determination to use the same to elevate the lives of common citizens.

Praising Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he said that she is a scholar at heart, has been instrumental in the Economic Surveys carrying their free spirit. Her feedback has been as committed as her support. Whether it was in taking the draft chapters to read on a cross-country flight or in suggesting changes that better incorporated India’s institutional features, these are but two examples of her commitment and support.

The FM’s sense of humour and easy manner played a critical role in enabling a healthy debate that is so essential amidst epochal change, he highlighted.

The chief architect of the last three Economic Survey, Subramanian is known for interesting concepts such as “Thalinomics”, “V-shaped economy” and “virtuous investment cycle”.

His latest survey for 2020-21 (in January), Subramanian cites a verse from Upanishads to modern literature, from Mahatma Gandhi to Albert Einstein, from Subhashita to Thiruvalluvar.

He has been maintaining his stand on V-shaped recovery in the economy amid two devastating waves of pandemic.

In his September interview with Business Standard, he had said that low base is not the sole contributor to GDP growth in June quarter and even emphasised that decline and the subsequent recovery was not reflecting anything about the fundamentals of the economy.

On Friday, he said that Economic survey taught him to pick a team like some of popular captains of Indian cricket tea.

“Given the passion for research, bringing new ideas and disseminating them through the Economic Survey has been an unadulterated pleasure. This process has taught me to carefully pick a team of talented and motivated professionals in a way that Sourav Ganguly exemplified, remaining calm while continually paddling underneath as Dhoni epitomised, and always putting the nation first in a way that Rahul Dravid demonstrated. The way my incredibly committed and capable team of Indian Economic Service officers responded to the responsibility and the freedom entrusted to them – a sine qua non for a creative team – has been so wonderful to observe.

Prior to his role, Subramanian served as Associate Professor of Finance (with tenure) and Executive Director for the Centre for Analytical Finance at the Indian School of Business.

Subramanian holds a PhD (Financial Economics) from the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur.

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