Economists Gita Gopinath and Arvind Panagariya are the likely front runners for the post of the finance ministry’s chief economic adviser (CEA).
“It is too early to say but they are some of the top choices for the post. The economists will also have to be asked for their interest in the position,” said a source close to the development.
The finance ministry’s top advisory post has become vacant following the appointment of Raghuram Rajan as Reserve Bank of India Governor.
Though Rajan’s term as the RBI chief is to start only next month but he has been currently deputed as an officer on special duty at the central bank.
With concerns over the current account deficit and the volatility in the rupee, the absence of the crucial advisor is being felt more acutely in North Block.
Also, the finance ministry will begin work on the Economic Survey 2013 over the next few months, which is largely prepared by the CEA’s office.
“Though this time there is more time as there will only be an interim Budget and the main Budget and Survey will be presented later. But preparations will start in another two months. So a decision has to be made soon,” the source said.
Gopinath is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University and holds a PhD from Princeton University in international macroeconomics and trade. In 2011, she was chosen as one of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum.
Panagariya is the Jagdish Bhagwati Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University and has previously worked as chief economist at the Asian Development Bank. He too earned his PhD from Princeton University.