Arvind Subramanian, who considers Pratap Bhanu Mehta and questionable historian Ramchandra Guha as a guide and an anchor was holidaying in Machu Picchu in October 2014, when newly elected, supposedly right leaning NDA government approached him to take over as Chief Economic Advisor. He left his assignment in July 2018. As per the author this was his best, most exciting, challenging and fulfilling job. This book covers his journey of approximate four years.
“Demonetization was a massive, draconian, monetary shock,” this line from the book garnered a lot of publicity from the anti-establishment press. And this must have cost the book a lot of readers. The climax is that the author in a roundabout way admits in the book itself, that he cannot prove it to be draconian.
The book exposes the follies of the RBI. In a scathing attack on RBI regarding NPAs, the author writes “Nothing fundamental was done to address the problem between then and 2014, either by the RBI or the previous government, a period of catastrophic neglect.” And vindicates the governments stand on the fact that RBI has excess capital which could have been put to better use. The chapter on GST is an eye-opener. Those who say it could have been implemented in a better way should read the book. In fact, this chapter could be a part of textbooks for colleges.
How media attempted to paint the author as “mentally un-Indian”, is a fascinating tale and the book makes strong points in favour of India when it comes to Carbon Imperialism. The government created complications in the Power Sector is unbelievable and how the current regime has still made a turnaround of the sector is astonishing.
The chapter on Agriculture adds weight to the argument that only those who have first-hand experience of agriculture in India should comment on it, at least from a policy’s perspective. Author’s lack of understanding of India is also evident from the fact that he has not quoted a single Indian author, though he quotes several English authors. Subramanian has also attempted to make a case for UBI, that is Universal Basic Income, which turned out to be bad idea.
Author deserves full praise for exposing dubious assessments by Rating Agencies in ranking nations. The write up on Globalisation proves the concerns of the proponents of Swadeshi, that is, when the Globalisation is taking place from East to West, the Champions of Globalisation are running away.
The book is full of helpful data and graphs. But, the author/editor/publisher forgot the fact that Stacked Column graph for representing more than two factors in Y axis is not a good idea. To understand the chapter on Fiscal Responsibility and Budget management, one needs to have a deep understanding of Economics. There is excessive repetition in the book, looks like it is an attempt to make the book fat. A chapter on Tennis adds credence to the argument. This is the best book covering the achievements of current regime. And the book will be remembered for the line “India went from crony socialism to stigmatized capitalism.”
Name of the book: The Challenges of the Modi-Jaitley Economy
Author: Arvind Subramanian
Price: Rs 699
Pages: iii + 347