HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Debroy, Subramanian, Tiwari in race to be CEA

Shishir Gupta and Gaurav Choudhury, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 10, 2014
First Published: 22:55 IST(10/8/2014) | Last Updated: 00:07 IST(11/8/2014)

The NDA government will soon appoint a new chief economic adviser (CEA), a post that has been lying vacant since September last year after Raghuram Rajan took over as Reserve Bank of India governor.

The finance ministry will also shortly announce the setting up of the Expenditure Management Commission (EMC), a panel with the mandate to draw up a subsidy reform roadmap, a new urea policy and other expenditure reforms.

Sidharth Tiwari, head, strategy, policy and review department, International Monetary Fund (IMF); Arvind Subramanian, senior fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics; and Bibek Debroy, research professor, Centre for Policy Research, are among people the government is considering for the position, top sources told HT.

For the EMC, Shankar Achar­ya, honorary professor at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations and former CEA; Vijay Kelkar, former finan­ce secretary and chairman of the 13th finance commission; and former RBI governor Bimal Jalan, among others, are being considered, sources said.

The EMC will give its interim report within this financial year.

The CEA is usually the main go-to person for advice for the finance minister on macro-economic matters. Primary responsibilities, among others, include authoring the mid-year analysis and the Economic Survey.

While the mid-year analysis is usually presented in Parliament during the winter session, the Economic Survey—the government’s official report card of the economy—is tabled just before the annual budget is announced.

This year’s Economic Survey was piloted by Ila Patnaik, who was appointed the principal economic adviser in the finance ministry in April.

Patnaik, formerly a professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, a government funded think-tank, has the rank of special secretary.

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