October 25 2017

Since the time of the first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru till now under the seemingly tottering establishment of Narendra Modi, there has always been daggers’ drawn between a popular PM and his economist finance minister. Though Modi is known for his stiff economic measures, yet, he has to from time to time take a shelter for retaining his popular base. The Nehru regime had repeatedly shown how the premier had given precedence to economists and scientists to his babus, and Modi seems to be just towing the line. And this is perhaps why Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has gotten sidelined in his own ministry. It is very clear that the IAS lobby is calling all the shots regarding the economy and the economist bunch has been reduced to become ringside viewers. Evidently, the PMO has been taking all the decisions which are then being passed out under the benign signature of a obliging civil servant know to the world as Hansmukh Adhiya.
The departure of the fabled economist Raghuram Rajan, former RBI chief, was due to this strife between experts and self-serving generalists, called IAS officers, the staunch Modi-bhakt economist Arvind Panagaria also had to set sail back to his US institute. The latest in the line of such dramatis personae if Arvind Subramanium, who had been foisted as the Boss’ chief economic advisor, flying past Rajan in 2014. It will be a long while when one forgets Subramanium’s critical statement of demonetisation as an ‘infantile’ decision. Now he is in the woods of the sprawling PM house. Subramanium was to rejoin his Oxford post from October 16, but post haste, Jaitley twitted that his tenure at the top job has been extended by a year. That bolted the door before the horse could fly! That seems to have worked for now, but what next?

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