Free Press Journal

Why is the requirement to pick CEA lowered?


The economist to be picked up for the job is required to be MA in economics, preferably with a doctorate, and six years of experience in research or giving advice or evaluating economic reforms.

New Delhi : Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel has caught the Modi Government lowering the educational and professional qualifications to suit appointment of one as the country’s Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) in lieu of Dr Arvind Subramanian relinquishing the key post to return to the United States.

In a tweet, Patel asked: “Why has government diluted the educational and professional requirements for the post of Chief Economic Advisor?” “Noting that economic positions even in banks have more rigorous requirements,” he asked, “What is their ulterior motive?” Though he did not elaborate, his hint was enough that the requirements are lowered to suit a “saffron” economist.

Something was amiss in the advertisement for the Rs 2.25 lakh/month post requiring one to assume the charge on August 1 if selected. Only someone not gainfully employed can be available for the call at a short notice as the applications are invited up to July 20 and then the selection cannot be made overnight.

The economist to be picked up for the job, as per the advertisement, is required to be MA in economics, preferably with a doctorate, and six years of experience in economic research or giving economic advice or evaluating economic reforms. He has to be at the most 50 years old if coming from outside the government and 56 if from within the government.

The qualifications fixed are even lower than the principal economic adviser, the post a notch below the CEA, who is required to have a doctorate degree in economics and 10 years of experience. Eminent economist Sanjeev Sanyal was appointed recently to the post and he may be forced to resign if a junior in qualification is made his boss as the CEA. The finance ministry officials, however, sought to play down the CEA advertisement, saying invariably a person is selected for the position who never applied as a search committee set up for such senior jobs invites the eminent economists who never bothered to apply. Two of the last three CEAs —Kaushik Basu and Raghuram Rajan — were invited by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to assume the position and help guide policymaking in the finance ministry.