BUSINESS

CEA-designate is ‘serious researcher, astute observer’

Newly-appointed Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian, affectionately called as ‘Subbu’ by his friends and colleagues, is an “outstanding choice for the job”, according to those who have worked and are currently working with him.

Currently an associate professor at the Indian School of Business, Mr. Subramanian has written about a number of economic and financial topics ranging from demonetisation to labour laws, CEO compensation, and even crime data. Apart from that, those who know him say he is a very good singer and is a polyglot, fluent in Tamil, English, Telugu, Hindi and Bengali.

A sharp student, Mr. Subramanian ranked 159 in the IIT-JEE and was selected to do a B. Tech in electrical engineering at IIT Kanpur, one of the most competitive departments for the subject at the time. He followed this up with a MBA in finance from IIM Calcutta in 1997-99, where he topped his batch and was placed in the institute’s Roll of Honour.

Thereafter, he completed a PhD from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business under noted economist Luigi Zingales and former CEA and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.

Recognised scholar

“Professor Krishnamurthy Subramanian is an exceptionally bright finance faculty member at the Indian School of Business (ISB),” Milind Sohoni, deputy dean, ISB told The Hindu . “He is a globally recognised scholar in banking, corporate governance and economic policy.”

Mr. Subramanian’s expertise has been put to good use by several of India’s regulators, including the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

He serves on the boards of Bandhan Bank, the Reserve Bank of India Academy and National Institute of Bank Management apart from being a member of the P.J. Nayak Committee on Governance of Bank Boards and the SEBI committees on corporate governance, primary markets and secondary markets. Despite all this, he finds the time to serve as the associate editor of the Financial Management and Journal of Corporate Finance.

“Krishnamurthy Subramanian is an outstanding choice for the job,” Anusha Chari, professor of economics and finance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and also a co-author of a paper with Dr. Subramanian, told The Hindu . “His expertise on the Indian banking system will be invaluable given the challenges that the economy faces in this realm. Working with him as a co-author, I can unequivocally say that he is both a serious researcher and an astute observer of the Indian economy.”

“He will bring an extraordinary combination of academic- and policy-relevant skills to the job,” she added.

Body of work

Soon after the announcement of demonetisation, he argued that the data from the National Sample Survey Organisation showed that the impact of the note ban would not be as detrimental for the poor as was being portrayed by the opposition parties. He also said that the move would be “revolutionary in the annals of the country’s fight against corruption”.

More recently, in 2018, Mr. Subramanian wrote about how the Prevention of Corruption Act needs to be amended to ward off a “witch hunt” against bankers. In a 2012 paper with current RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya, published in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Mr. Subramanian argued that laws that protect employees against unjust dismissal spur innovation.

In another paper, also with Mr. Acharya, he wrote that “stringent labour laws can provide firms a commitment device to not punish short-run failures and thereby spur their employees to pursue value-enhancing innovative activities”.

(With inputs from Appaji Reddem in Vijayawada)

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