Economist Surjit S. Bhalla has resigned from his position as the part-time Member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. Government sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted Bhalla’s resignation which takes effect from December 1. The Council is headed by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy. Other part-time members on the Council include economists Rathin Roy, Ashima Goyal and former bureaucrat Ratan Watal.
Bhalla, a Contributing Editor with The Indian Express, has been critical of the Reserve Bank of India keeping interest rates elevated and overestimating inflation expectations.
In his column on December 1 on the recently released back series data on Gross Domestic Product, Bhalla, wrote: “I, along with others, also found it inappropriate for NITI Aayog to be directly involved in the presentation of statistical data by the CSO (Central Statistics Office).”
The data was released by the NITI Aayog and the CSO in a joint press conference on November 28, in which the government revised down the GDP growth rates for the 2006-2012 period. The new data showed that growth during the NDA government was higher than in the UPA period. Many economists criticised presence of NITI Aayog, which is chaired by Prime Minister, in the process of release of the GDP numbers. They argued that calculation of GDP back series being a technical exercise should have best left to the CSO.
1/2 My forecast on Elections 2019; written as Contributing Editor Indian Express & Consultant @Network18Group; I resigned as part-time member PMEAC on December 1st; also look for my book Citizen Raj: Indian Elections 1952-2019 , due
— Surjit Bhalla (@surjitbhalla) December 11, 2018
It isn’t immediately clear why Bhalla resigned from the EAC PM.