A few weeks ago, Jaganmohan Reddy suggested to his officers to scout for a person who will help in generating ideas to increase the resource pool in Andhra Pradesh. That was because the Andhra Pradesh chief minister felt he had not met anyone since he came to power in May 2019 who looked at different options to generate funds.
Though the initial thought was to get a junior person with an investment background, the CM later felt that a person with a macro-economic outlook would be more beneficial. The word was spread among IAS officers across the country. According to highly placed sources, that is when Subhash Chandra Garg, former Finance secretary who took Voluntary Retirement last year, got in touch with the Andhra Pradesh government to say “I am interested”.
Given Garg’s credentials as an expert in resource mobilisation, the government was obviously delighted. But it also wanted to check if the appointment will annoy the NDA government in any way. That is because Garg had abruptly called it quits after he was shunted out as Finance secretary to the Power ministry, amid reports of adjustment issues with the new leadership at the Finance Ministry. It was however, later clarified that he had applied for VRS much earlier. The Andhra Pradesh government’s own sleuthing found out that the top leadership of the government was not angry with Garg. That cleared the decks for Garg’s appointment.
Garg, a 1983 batch officer of the Rajasthan cadre, will hold the rank of a cabinet minister and shall spend 15 days in a month at the State headquarters in Andhra Pradesh. According to the GO, he is allowed to pursue his teaching and writing work and shall work with the government for two years.
Jagan has made it clear that no resources will be cut to fund the welfare schemes. The challenge for Garg will be to think out of the box and come up with ideas to generate funds for the cash-strapped state.