Thumbnail sketch of key officers involved in making budget
The Union Budget will be presented in the Parliament on February 1.
From old hands at making budget to a recent inductee after an eventful tenure in UIADI, top brass of the Finance Ministry are involved in the making of the Union Budget 2019-20 to be presented in the Parliament on February 1, which is unlikely to be a mere vote-on-account in an election year.
In an election year, the interim budget or a vote-on-account, to be presented by Piyush Goyal, who was given the additional charge of finance portfolio in view of Arun Jaitley’s hospitalisation in the US, is normally presented to seek Parliament’s sanction for keeping the wheels of administration and development programmes going on for four months till a new government takes over and gives its full-fledged budget.
But, according to most accounts, this year the BJP government is expected to break all traditions and present a virtual budget that could include income tax sops like raising the threshold exemption limit and a relief package for farmers to woo various sections ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Here is a thumbnail sketch of the mandarins in the North Block.
Ajay Narayan Jha, Finance Secretary and Expenditure Secretary:
Jha was given one-month extension till February 28 this year apparently due to his key role in budget making. His role involves striking a balance between expectations of various ministries and fiscal deficit goals of the government.
A 1982 batch IAS officer of Manipur cadre, Jha studied history at St. Stephens College Delhi. He received a World Bank scholarship to pursue Masters in Economic Policy Management.
Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs:
The 1983 batch Rajasthan cadre IAS officer is an old hand in budget preparation. He is expected to keep an eye on the fiscal targets while also striving for measures to boost growth. Garg is in line to become the next Finance Secretary.
Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Secretary, Department of Revenue:
The 1984 batch Maharashtra cadre IAS officer, who continues to be the CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), took charge of the post in November.
An electrical engineer from IIT Kanpur and a PhD in computer science from University of Minnesota, his job is to increase revenue from taxes. He is the key man concerning tax proposals. Other areas in his domain include tax compliance, GST stabilization, simplification of tax administration and ease of doing business.
Rajeev Kumar, Secretary, Department of Financial Services:
The 1984 batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre deals with financial institutions, banks, insurance companies and the national pension system.
His focus is expected to be the capital needs of the banks, which at present are facing the brunt of large non-performing assets and are being goaded to increase credit flow to NBFCs and MSMEs. He will also continue working towards the government’s aim of a cashless economy.
Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management:
The 1985 batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer took charge of his post in May 2018 after serving as the Director General of Hydrocarbons.
He has a clear mandate of working towards disinvestment in 24 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs). Chakraborty will try to find new approaches in the budget for the government to vacate 100 per cent-owned public sector units (PSUs) through Initial Public Offering (IPOs) and follow-on public offers to make space for private sector investment into PSUs.
Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser:
He has just replaced Arvind Subramanian, who quit last year to return to academics in the US.
A PhD (Financial Economics) from Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, and an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and IIT Kanpur, Krishnamurthy was an Associate Professor at Indian School of Business before the prestigious assignment.
He is one of the chief architects of corporate governance and banking reforms in India. As CEA, his role involves authoring the mid-year analysis and the Economic Survey.
Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Adviser:
Sanyal has worked in financial markets since the mid-90s and also serves as the co-chair of the Framework Working Group of G20 and represents India on a number of international forums.
He was Managing Director and Global Strategist at Deutsche Bank till 2015. A Rhodes Scholar with a degree in Economics from Oxford, he is an author and has made his mark in diverse areas.
Arvind Shrivastava, Joint Secretary, Budget:
The 1994 batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer was appointed to the post in April 2018.
He plays a key role in collecting facts and figures, reviewing the current economic situation and the final scripting of the budget. He coordinates with the Department of Economic Affairs and holds key discussions with the core team members on the overall revenue, expenditure, deficit and related statistics.
Pramod Kumar Das, Additional Secretary, Expenditure:
The 1986 batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer has a key role in maintaining a balance among expenditure proposals of various ministries and departments. He holds Master’s degrees in economics and management from JNU and Asian Institute of Management (Manila).
Ritvik Ranjanam Pandey, Joint Secretary, Revenue:
The 1998-batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer has been in the post since March 2018.
Having worked as Director (Budget) in the Ministry of Finance, he is an old hand in the budget-making process. Earlier, he served as Commercial Tax Commissioner in Karnataka. He is the son-in-law of Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.