Raghuram G. Rajan, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Wednesday, assumed charge as the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) in the Ministry of Finance.
“I am glad to be here,” Dr. Rajan said after taking over a prime position in the Ministry, which has been lying vacant since his predecessor Kaushik Basu left on July 31. Dr. Rajan’s appointment as CEA was cleared by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) on August 10.
Admittedly a key member of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's team that will have to settle down in the next few months to prepare the Budget for 2013-14 — the last such exercise before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 — Dr. Rajan, as CEA in the Ministry, will also be entrusted with the task of bringing out the Economic Survey and unveil the government’s strategy on steering the economy through the current crisis to a higher growth trajectory.
In the shorter term, Dr. Rajan’s joining the government has come at a time when inflation and the twin deficits on the fiscal and current account front are at a high and both industrial and GDP (gross domestic product) growth rates are at their lows. “World economy faces very serious challenges right now and India is no exception...I hope that over the coming days, I can help in whatever solution we devise,” Dr. Rajan said, in anticipation of the challenges lying ahead.
Globally acclaimed in recent years as being one of the very few to have correctly predicted the 2008 financial crisis, Dr. Rajan’s association with the UPA government is not new.
In November 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appointed Dr. Rajan as honorary economic advisor.