NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar Wednesday hit back at former Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian for a critique of the government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, saying the process of raising import tariffs was put in motion during his tenure as CEA.
Subramanian, in an opinion piece co-authored with Pennsylvania State University’s assistant professor of economics Shoumitro Chatterjee, pointed out the pitfalls of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign.
They argued that it is start of India turning inward, where domestic demand is assuming primacy over export orientation and trade restrictions are increasing, reversing a three-decade trend, which may not be effective in promoting growth.
“Very surprised to read @arvindsubraman’s co-authored piece this morning criticising #AatmaNirbharBharat. It effectively started during his tenure as Chief Economic Advisor which as he writes saw the highest increase in import tariffs in 2018 to nearly 18 per cent,” Kumar said in a tweet.
“Not fair or honest to take one stand when within the government and the opposite after leaving it,” Kumar said.
Subramanian, currently a Professor of Economics at Ashoka University, had joined the government as CEA in October 2014 for a three-year term and was given a one year extension. He had cut short his extended tenure to return to the US for “pressing family commitments.”
“The inward turn is most evident in trade policies aimed at promoting domestic manufacturing. Leaving aside the spate of China-related restrictions, tariffs have been increased substantially, trade agreements have been put on hold, and a spate of production subsidies are being offered,” Subramanian wrote.
“The real prize that India should aim for is the large unexploited opportunity of unskilled labour exports ,” he said.
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