Arvind Subramanian set to be India's next chief economic adviser

Arvind SubramanianArvind Subramanian, a US-based economist, is all set to be the chief economic adviser (CEA) to the Narendra Modi government, reports citing finance ministry sources said today.

The post of CEA had been lying vacant since September 2013 after Raghuram Rajan was appointed as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is reported to have cleared Subramanian's name and has left a decision to the appointments committee of the Cabinet (ACC), which comprises Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh, according to officials.

Cabinet-level approval is expected to follow and ''he is likely to be appointed soon," reports said citing sources.

If appointed, Subramanian will serve a three-year term as CEA, and also the head of the Indian Economic Service. He will also be the second economist of international repute to be appointed to a key position after former International Monetary Fund chief economist Raghuram Rajan was made governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Rajan was holding the post of CEA before he became the central bank governor last year.

Subramanian, a Dennis Weatherstone senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, both in Washington DC. Before his current assignment, he was assistant director in the research department of the International Monetary Fund.

An alumnus of St Stephens College, Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad, he obtained his M.Phil and D.Phil from the University of Oxford.

In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named him among Top 100 Thinkers.

He has also been an adviser to the Indian government in different capacities, including as a member of the Finance Minister's Expert Group on the G-20.

Subramanian also taught at Johns Hopkins' School for Advanced International Studies from 2008 to 2010 and at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government from 1999 to 2000.

He has written on a number of issues including the emerging economic giants India and China, global trade and development, multilateral institutions, oil markets, Africa, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The new CEA will be assuming office at a time when the econony is showing signs of recovery but still struggling to come out of a slowdown. The Reserve Bank has projected GDP growth to rise to levels around 5.5 per cent this fiscal from a dismal 4.7 per cent last fiscal. The finance ministry is now projecting a growth of 5.8-5.9% this fiscal.