With political uncertainty intensifying as general elections inch closer, the government is finding it difficult to find a chief economic adviser for the finance ministry after Raghuram Rajan took over as governor of RBI in September.
"With general elections slated in May, and a possibility of change in guard at the Centre, people are not willing to take up the job immediately," a source who did not wish to be identified said.
The post of the CEA has been lying vacant for the last three months even as names of Ajay Chhibber, member of Planning Commission, Jehangir Aziz, Asia economist at JPMorgan and Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at the US-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, have been doing the rounds.
The recent rout of the UPA in four state elections, will only add to the problem.
This time the government has not sought applications for the post. Instead, finance minister P Chidambaram would propose a name for the post after which it would be sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for final approval.
"Though several names have been discussed but there has been lukewarm response as the CEA may seem to be a handpicked person of the current regime and in case there is a change, the going may get difficult for him," source said.
The primary responsibility of the CEA is to come out with the mid-year analysis and the Economic Survey, released just before the announcement of the budget in February. This time, there will be an interim budget with Lok Sabha polls slated for the middle of the year. "So there is no immediate need for a CEA as well," the source added.