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“Working With Her Was Going To Be Difficult”: Former Finance Secretary Says Nirmala Sitharaman Wanted Him Transferred

Mr Garg claimed that Ms Sitharaman had asked for and insisted on his transfer from the finance ministry in June 2019 itself.

In an explosive insight of working with incumbent Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Former Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg blamed the messy stint with Ms Sitharaman for his abrupt exit in June last year. Mr Garg, in a blog post, claimed Sitharaman had insisted on his transfer from the north block, a month after she took over as the finance minister.

The Rajasthan cadre officer of the 1983 IAS batch, wrote in his post: “She has a very different personality, skill-set and approach for economic policy issues and also for the officers working with her. It became apparent very early that working with her was going to be quite difficult.”

A day after the parliamentary approval for the second Narendra Modi government’s first budget, which faced some criticism on account of the apparent absence of details and a definite plan to tide over the slowdown and counter falling demand, Garg was ‘removed’ from his post.

“She (Sitharaman), for reasons not very clearly known to me, came with some pre-conceived notions about me. She did not seem to have confidence in me. She was not quite comfortable working with me as well. Serious difference also developed on some key issues like economic capital framework of RBI, package for dealing with problems of non-banks, resolution of non-banks, partial credit guarantee scheme, capitalisation of non-banks like IIFCL and other financial entities and the like. Very soon, not only had our personal relationship soured, but the official working relationship also became quite unproductive,” Mr Garg said.

Mr Garg claimed that Ms Sitharaman had asked for and insisted on his transfer from the finance ministry in June 2019 itself.

Mr Garg took voluntary retirement from service after being transferred to the power ministry, saying he was an “independent-minded officer” who implemented bold and unconventional decisions that may have not kept his bosses in “good humour”.

“Ministry of Finance, especially the Department of Economic Affairs, is the place where an officer gets the widest possible view of the Indian economy and participates, in various ways, in the decision making relating to the policy framework for entire economic part of the government. I did not want to work in the government outside the Ministry of Finance,” the former IAS officer wrote.

 

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