Note: Follow The Wire’s live coverage of the 2018 assembly election results here.
New Delhi: Economist and newspaper columnist Surjit Bhalla on Tuesday stated that he had quit as a part-time member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic advisory council (PMEAC).
“I resigned as part-time member PMEAC on December 1st; also look for my book Citizen Raj: Indian Elections 1952-2019,” Bhalla tweeted on Tuesday morning.
According to government sources, his resignation has been accepted by the Prime Minister.
Bhalla, according to his tweet, will continue to be a contributing editor at The Indian Express and has joined as a consultant for the Network18 Group.
Am in the TV studios CNN IBN ; as I explained in my 6.30 am tweet I resigned from the pmeac and the reasons were also given – consultancy with CNN IBN and work on a book about indian elections since 1952 and my resignation was effective Dec 1 when I joined CNN IBN
— Surjit Bhalla (@surjitbhalla) December 11, 2018
His resignation comes on the heels of a series of exits by government economists over the last year. This includes former Niti Aayog boss Arvind Panagariya, former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and former RBI governor Urjit Patel.
The PMEAC was set up in September 2017 by Modi as a five-member panel. It is currently headed by senior economist and Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy and also includes other members like Rathin Roy, Ashima Goyal, Shamika Ravi and Ratan Watal.
The council identified ten areas for reviving growth and employment such as jobs, monetary policy, public spending and agriculture.
According to people with knowledge of the matter, Bhalla helped draft a report on employment months before his exit.
This report, sources say, has been criticised through feedback given by third-parties such as Mahesh Vyas of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).