The government has extended the tenure of chief economic adviser (CEA) in the finance ministry, Arvind Subramanian, by one year till October 16, 2018, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday. The decision assumes importance in the backdrop of brainstorming sessions held by Jaitley with Cabinet colleagues and senior officials, including the CEA, to devise a plan to lift economic growth, which slipped to a three-year low of 5.7% in the April-June quarter of 2017-18. Subramanian, a senior fellow at the US-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, had taken leave to take up the responsibility for a three-year term beginning October 16, 2014.
“The news of his resignation was wrong. The finance minister was personally keen that Subramanian continue as CEA under the present circumstances,” an official said. Speculation about his likely exit started gathering pace after then NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya resigned last month, with the think tank’s new vice-chairman, Rajiv Kumar, hinting the days of foreign-trained economists driving policies in India were numbered. In a newspaper column before he started his tenure at NITI Aayog, Kumar referred to the exit of Panagariya and former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and wrote that “if Lutyens’ Delhi rumours are to be believed, more such resignations can come”.