Economist Surjit Bhalla, who had questioned the involvement of the Niti Aayog in the release of re-stated economic growth numbers of the UPA regime, has resigned as a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC).
“I resigned as a part-time member of the PMEAC on December 1,” he said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
Bhalla broke the news a day after Urjit Patel resigned as the RBI governor amid a standoff with the government over a range of issues.
The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) is an independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi constituted the council, which was a regular feature in the UPA regime, in September last year.
The six-member council is headed by economist Bibek Debroy and has four part-time members and a member secretary in Ratan P. Watal, a former bureaucrat.
A Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson said Bhalla’s resignation has been accepted by the Prime Minister.
In another tweet, Bhalla said, “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 the Indian elections since 1952 and my resignation was effective December 1 when I joined CNN IBN.”
Bhalla, who appeared to be supportive of the government policies, in a newspaper column on December 1 raised questions about the involvement of the Niti Aayog in releasing the so-called back-series GDP data.
“I, along with others, also found it inappropriate for the Niti Aayog to be directly involved in the presentation of statistical data by the Central Statistics Office,” he wrote in the December 1 article.