Krishnamurthy V Subramanian, who, as the chief economic advisor, helped steer the economy during an unprecedented Covid crisis and before, left the finance ministry on Friday. He is returning to academia, having served for three years at North Block.
“I go back with enormous personal satisfaction that I have been a part of a team that has displayed leadership like Mahendra Singh Dhoni used to do during very tough times,” he told FE. Despite the team scoring just 129 runs in the T20 champions’ trophy final in 2013, Dhoni instilled the belief that they could beat England.
“In a similar manner, we had said that despite the highest drop in growth during the pandemic (real GDP contracted a record 7.3% in FY21), there would be a V-shaped recovery and it has happened. We now have the sharpest economic recovery with macro stability,” he said.
He lavished praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for displaying “enormous courage of conviction to be different amidst the pandemic”. “When every other country was scampering to just live through the pandemic, we undertook second-generation reforms,” he said. The government implemented several supply-side measures, and unlike many others who are witnessing high inflation now, it didn’t just focus on boosting demand. Fiscal policy was changed to focus a lot more on capex that has high multiplier effect, he said.
“That’s what leadership is about. During tough times, it’s easy to pile on misery but leadership is demonstrated by credibly instilling the belief among everyone that we will overcome this adversity,” he said.“I think these are aspects that gives me enormous amount of satisfaction. No CEA in independent India had had to be through such a tumultuous time,” he added.
Subramanian recently said this would be India’s decade of inclusive growth. “Mark my words, this decade will be India’s decade of inclusive growth. In FY23, we expect growth to be between 6.5% and 7% and then accelerating further as the impact of these reforms is seen,” he said.
As the lead author of the annual economic surveys in recent years, Subramanian had advocated a “virtuous investment cycle” to achieve high growth rates on a sustained basis. He also came out with an interesting concept, “Thalinomics”, which was an attempt to quantify what a common person paid for a full meal across India.He had succedded Arvind Subramanian, who had left in 2018, cutting short his tenure by a few months citing “pressing family commitments”.