NEW DELHI,Frank Jack Daniel(Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not decided whether to appoint U.S.-based economist Arvind Subramanian as the governments chief economic adviser, a senior government source told Reuters, in a delay that may impact policy and budget preparations.
Subramanian, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, was informally recommended to the post by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley more than a month ago but Modi still wants to discuss the appointment, the source said.
Jaitley was admitted to a private hospital in New Delhi on Sept. 1 for gastric bypass surgery to treat a long-standing diabetic condition. He was re-admitted to hospital last week and has yet to be discharged.
“It was still under consultation between the finance minister and the prime minister. Then the finance minister got sick,” the source said.
Nationalist leader Modi has unleashed a slew of measures aimed at making India a more attractive place to do business, but has disappointed some backers who had hoped he would take more decisive action to promote a recovery.
Other senior advisory positions remain unfilled, including in the prime minister’s office, leading some of Modi’s reform-minded followers to worry about a lack of economic heavyweights in the administration.
The post of chief economic adviser is a high-profile position that was last filled by another internationally renowned academic long based in the United States, former International Monetary Fund chief economist Raghuram Rajan, who is now India’s central bank governor.
Traditionally, the chief adviser is responsible for producing the annual Economic Survey – a document on the state of economy that underpins the drafting of the budget – and a mid-year economic update that is presented to parliament.