‘Launch of GST a high point of my CEA stint’

Arvind Subramanian launches book

December 10, 2018 11:50 pm | Updated December 11, 2018 07:02 am IST - Hyderabad

It was a mellow Arvind Subramanian, who danced on the balls of his feet and gesticulated enthusiastically, as he shared anecdotes from the crucial days he was the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) to the Government of India.

At the launch of his book ‘Of Counsel: The Challenges of the Modi-Jaitley Economy’ in Hyderabad at the Vidyaranya School, Mr Subramanian discussed his book with former RBI governor Y.V. Reddy and author C. Rammanohar Reddy.

While Mr. Reddy posed a question about the day’s dramatic development of RBI Governor Urjit Patel putting in his papers, Mr. Subramanian sidestepped it, focussing on the issues in his book.

“I would say one of the high points in my stint as CEA was the launch of Goods and Services Tax which was an example of cooperative federalism. It was something which could not happen anywhere else in the world. I hugged Hasmukh Adhia (Finance Secretary) when the numbers flashed on the screen,” said Mr. Subramanian, who agreed that the implementation was not the way he would have liked.

He called his book part memoir, part analysis and part psychology. “We have a stigmatised capitalism with the CAG, CBI and other agencies overseeing every decision. The rise of China began when they fixed the price of agriculture produce and then incentivised farmers who produced more to sell at a price point of their choice. We have failed to create mechanisms to benefit maximum people,” he said at the event organised by Manthan.

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