The government has decided against filling up the post of the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) to the Finance Minister.
“Since it has already been decided that there will be no Budget Session of Parliament and that a Budget or an Economic Survey will not be tabled by the government, it has been decided to leave the CEA’s post vacant,” government sources told The Hindu.
In an election year governments simply go for a vote on account instead of a full-fledged budget.
“The winter session will be adjourned and not be prorogued and there will be no President’s address either,” the sources said.
“Even though an Economic Survey will not be tabled by the government, it has decided it does not require the services of a CEA at a time when the economy is going through a painful economic slowdown,” said a senior government official, who works on economic policy on the condition of anonymity.
“A CEA would have come in handy given there is urgent need to analyse economic data to see if the slowdown is deepening or if a turnaround can be expected.” The sources also said the decision to make do without a CEA was also due to lack of interest from potential candidates as it was expected that a new government post-general elections 2014 might want to bring its own candidate for the post.
A CEA at this stage, thus, was likely to have a short-lived tenure only, they said.
Four names were reported as being considered by the government to fill up the job that had fallen vacant in September after the last CEA Raghuram Rajan moved to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI): Siddharth Tiwari, Director of the strategy, policy and review department of the International Monetary Fund; Ajay Chibber of the Planning Commission; Jehangir Aziz of JP Morgan; and Arvind Subramanian from U.S.-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.