Arvind Subramanian’s WAR-mongering

Just raising doubts frequently within the system and publicly articulating them “in a measured manner in government documents” enough?

Arvind Subramanian’s WAR-mongering
Arvind Subramanian’s WAR-mongering

Years, after the misleading data were incorporated into economic policy and harm was done, Subramanian comes up with his revelation. This is nothing but WAR-mongering

R.Vaidyanathan, a prominent economist, coined an interesting acronym WAR, Wisdom After Retirement, some time ago. Talking to PGurus, he was pointing out that top bureaucrats write “pompous articles” in newspapers after retirement as to how to improve the education system and reform the financial sector. However, the very same officials, when in office, do nothing of that sort, even when they hold responsible positions. Former chief economic adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian has recently joined the club of WAR-mongers.

In an article in The Indian Express (June 11), Subramanian wrote about research he just carried out: “My results indicate that methodological changes led to GDP growth being overstated by about 2.5 percentage points per year between 2011-12 and 2016-17, a period that spans both UPA and NDA governments. Official estimates place average annual growth for this period at about 7 per cent. Actual growth may have been about 4.5 per cent, with a 95 per cent confidence interval of 3.5 to 5.5 per cent.”

When Subramanian was CEA, demonetization was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016. Subramanian didn’t say anything at that time

On the face of it, this is a fair remark: the overstated growth figures are equally shared by both the previous United Progressive Alliance and the incumbent National Democratic Alliance. He is not being politically partisan. But then neither his fairness nor his scholarship is in question; the issue here is his moral courage.

Here is a man who studied at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and the University of Oxford, and worked as an assistant director in the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. He was Chief Economic Adviser to the Narendra Modi government for four years (2014-18). Despite his stellar academic record and his four-year experience from the vantage point of CEA, he could not even see, let alone rectify, statistical bungling. It is only after having demitted the high office that he was blessed with such a revelation! Veritable WAR indeed!

In the article, he has answered the question why now: “Finally, the question will arise as to my role on this issue while I was CEA. Throughout my tenure, my team and I grappled with conflicting economic data. We raised these doubts frequently within government, and publicly articulated these in a measured manner in government documents, especially the Economic Survey of July 2017. But the time and space afforded by being outside government were necessary to undertake months of very detailed research, including subjecting it to careful scrutiny and cross-checking by numerous colleagues, to generate robust evidence.”

But was just raising doubts frequently within the system and publicly articulating them “in a measured manner in government documents” enough? Is the job of the CEA just to write Economic Survey every year which few politicians of consequence read anyway? Isn’t he or she supposed to advise, admonish, and warn the powers that be about policy matters? To use Left-liberals’ pet phrase, isn’t he or she supposed to speak truth to power?

When Subramanian was CEA, demonetization was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016. Subramanian didn’t say anything at that time. Two years later, however, he enlightened the world about the devastation it caused, calling it a “massive, draconian, monetary shock.” He also hinted that he was not in the loop.

While resignation over demonetization might have been an act of ingratitude, having done little to sound the government to refrain from inflating GDP numbers during his tenure is not understandable. Especially, as he himself wrote in the recent article, “Growth estimates matter not just for reputational reasons but critically for internal policy-making. The new evidence implies that both monetary and fiscal policies over the last years were overly tight from a cyclical perspective. For example, interest rates may have been too high, by as much as 150 basis points. The Indian policy automobile has been navigated with a faulty, possibly broken, speedometer.”

Years, after the misleading data were incorporated into economic policy and harm was done, Subramanian comes up with his revelation. This is nothing but WAR-mongering.

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Latest posts by Ravi Shanker Kapoor (see all)

9 COMMENTS

  1. Modi is giving undue mileage & making ordinary clerks & peons the status of demi-gods. time to shun them & also shun Modi on these matters.

  2. Since the advent of foreign trained NRI economists in the DEA the FMs tried to lean upon them against the formidable three Secretaries of DEA,REVENUE and EXPenditure. The CEA teports to the SEy economic affairs.I was Rev Secy for nearly 4 years during the initial spurt of major tax reforms Shankar Acharya also Phd fro MIT was the CEA.He never tried to but into the media or quote his own papers in the Economic Surveys which Arvind Subramanian liberally did rather unethical to do so.

    Secondly it gives an impression he collected all information from the department while in office and now using it to attack the govt of its credibility.Such papers attract attention irrespective of their worth.
    In my view the CSO should delve into his
    methodologies either to refute him squarely or acknowledge
    they fudged data ,exaggerated GDP which led to the
    govt to frame incorrect policies.

  3. The nature of employment changes with time. Eco pundits know this fact, but stubbornly use employment statistics generated by the statistical organisations. So they are looking at only 10-15% of total employment to extrapolate for the whole country. We urgently need new sample surveys to generate true employment data and use them; before pontificating. Aside from such true calculations, all other pronouncements are simply political and ideological in nature and are agenda based.

  4. What strikes me is the perspicacity of Subramanyam Swamy who was able to see through the inadequacy of this man for filling the exalted position he was given by the Modi government.

  5. Arvind, Manmohan, Rajan, Swaminathan, Kurien are Desh Drohis.

    Acting as agents of the US, these traitors allowed looting of our National Wealth to satisfy their own greed

    It is because of criminals like Swaminathan Indian Farming went to dogs forcing millions of farmers to commit suicide

  6. past assholes do not matter- glorified so called economist- along with the previous RBI asshole who was a glorified so called economist- can crawl back into their respective insignificant hole in the ground.

    this asshole is seeking attention- so concocts a story- seekinf relevancy.

    pgurus- seek better quality articles- presenting current affairs- and future directions of our experiment called Bharat.

    crap of monkeys like the ghandis- and a donkey called vadra- and morons in the opposition- i am sick of it.- they are irrelevant- media gives those assholes.

    if you are seeking out voices to nurture a new responsible no nonsense opposition- the nation comes first-eradicate corruption etc- seek them out- even if they are in existing parties- give them a voice.

    what about – encourage a crop of new voices- into local politics- local, state ,and central- and fund their political campaigns with individual donors? – locals in their districts. what a thought?

    pgurus can give them a platform?

    all we need is a single spark- to start that fire.

    where the hell do these political parties find funds/monies for their operations,staff,and campaigns?

  7. Yes, indeed a national DEBATE on this subject would be appropriate with the following moderated by Sree Iyer or Rahul Shivshankar/Navika Kumar. India’s Economy. Its Past [UPA 1&2], Present [Modi 1.0 &2.0] and Future [Beyond 2024]. Panel Participants: 1. Nirmala Sitharman [New Delhi], 2. Dr. R. Vaidyanathan [Bengaluru], 3. Dr. Subramanian Swamy [everywhere], 4. Raghuram Rajan [Chicago], 5. Arvind Subramanian [Boston]. 6. S. Gurumurthy [Chennai].

  8. ARVIND SUBRAMANIUM a White asslicker,imported after they become abject slaves
    INDIAN EXPRESS = IE= ITALIAN EXCRETA, owned by Anant Goenka Rabid Running Dog of Vatican and Italy, His Sister “DONELLY GOENKA”, Married to a ITALIAN WHITE SKIN GENOCIDAL BLOODSOAKED XTIAN. these self styled Liberals, seculars English farters love to lay ONLY WHITE SKINS, WHY? WHAT LIBERALISM…NOW WHITE SKIN SUPREMACISTS AND ITS ETERNAL DAMNED SLAVES AND WILLING SEXSLAVES pass as Liberals
    Editor: RAJKAMAL JHA, Brother of Half White Sanjay Jha (Evil White DNA of White ruling class), son of JHA who was first to advertise about GREAT SACRIFICE of MADAM ANTONIA MAINO (actually Hell ena mother of modern day NERO, DAUGHTER OF A NAZI).

  9. ABSOLUTE WAR-mongering indeed Ravi Shanker Kapoor ji you are on spot.

    I heard Prof RV coining WAR: Wisdom After Retirement!! In case of Ex CEA Arvind Subramanian got his wisdom back on the state of Indian Economy after going back to US and occupying his seat!

    I did not understand PM Modi then continuing and employing imported clerks, Economists, financial experts having MBA degrees from abroad to “guide him” as if India is bereft of them, the most deserving and qualified people! Had PM Modi employed indigenous brilliant deserving people at least few would have boasted their life time achievements. Why PMs in our country deny such opportunities for indigenous people? Is there any law or written rule or understanding that IMF, WB, ADB entertains only “imported” experts by underdeveloped and developing nations economies?

    During Dynasty rule for 65 years we have had “planned poverty” under Planning Commission (retiring paradise for political rejects/ white elephant) and now Niti Ayog under PM Modi.

    This so called mumbo jumbo and sarkari truths on GDP calculations are a by-product of cooked up data, copy paste documentation and copy cats intellectual dishonesty and Lawyers becoming Finance Ministers in the country. Lawyers are always lairs. There are “I told you so” garden variety intellectuals too.

    These so called imported experts go to press just before parliament session begins and to feed Opposition parties with gun powder to disrupt parliament.

    What did Ex CEA Arvind Subramanian achieve serving Majboot Sarkar surgical PM Modi for four years?

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