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NEW DELHI - A high-powered academic who tells his students to read Joseph Conrad and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to better understand economic development was confirmed on Thursday as chief economic adviser to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

Ending two months of uncertainty, U.S.-based economist Arvind Subramanian announced at an impromptu news conference that he had got the job, on a day of drama in which the finance ministry's top civil servant was sacked.

His appointment inserts a friend of Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan at the heart of policy making, as Modi seeks to make good on a jobs-and-growth...

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