On June 21, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato congratulated Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the first director of the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), on Ahluwalia’s appointment as Deputy Chair of India’s Planning Commission (a cabinet-level position). Ahluwalia, an Indian national with extensive experience in Indian government, had headed the IEO from July 2001. The office was created to conduct independent analyses of IMF policies and activities and, in so doing, strengthen the institution’s learning process.
In setting out the IEO’s first work program, Ahluwalia undertook extensive consultations, inside and outside the organization, which led to the selection of three initial topics for the IEO’s review: fiscal adjustment in IMF-supported programs; the role of the IMF in three capital account crises (Indonesia, Korea, and Brazil); and the prolonged use of IMF resources. These studies, which were presented to the IMF’s Executive Board in 2002-03, were subsequently released to the public and have contributed to a number of changes in IMF policies and procedures.
Under Ahluwalia’s guidance, the IEO embarked on a second set of studies. Reports on these reviews are expected to be brought to the Executive Board this year. Topics include a review of the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (the IMF’s chief vehicle for providing concessional financing to low-income countries) and the joint IMF–World Bank Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (which encourage country design and ownership of reforms and set a road map for development); the role of the IMF in Argentina from 1991 through 2002; and the IMF’s technical assistance program.
In congratulating him, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato noted that Ahluwalia had served with distinction as the IEO’s first director and that the IMF has benefited greatly from the IEO’s well-researched and insightful reports on the organization’s programs and policies. De Rato added that Ahluwalia’s distinguished career in public service has been dedicated to the pursuit of sound economic policies. “As India continues on its path of economic reforms,” he said, “it comes as no surprise to me that the authorities have once again turned to Mr. Ahluwalia for his services. He is dedicated and committed and will be missed at the IMF and the IEO.”