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Nobel Laureate Abhijt Banerjee meets Indian PM, Hails Efforts to Link Governance to Ground Realities

New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian-origin Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as Modi’s cabinet colleagues had slammed the economist for what they called his “Left-leanings”.

Banerjee has been critical of India's economic infrastructure and listed a combination of factors like demonetization, implementation of General Services Tax (GST) and the monetary policy regime for the slide in consumption, and described it as "extremely serious".
After meeting Modi, the Nobel Laureate was appreciative of the Prime Minister's efforts to link government policies to the on-the-ground realities of the country. He commented on the meeting:

"It was a privilege to have this meeting with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was kind enough to give me quite a lot of time and to talk a lot about his way of thinking about India, which was quite unique," he said.
"He (Modi) talked about the way he sees governance in particular...and how it, therefore, creates structures of elite control over the governance process," Banerjee added.

The Prime Minister also tweeted about the meeting and said, "His (Banerjee's) passion towards human empowerment is clearly visible. We had a healthy and extensive interaction on various subjects."

​“He (Narendra Modi) also very nicely explained how he is trying to reform the bureaucracy to make it more responsive to understand the ways in which people’s views need to be taken into account, expose them more to the reality on ground and what I thought was a very important point for India to create a bureaucracy actually lives on the ground and get its stimulus from how life is on the ground. Without that we get an unresponsive government,” Banerjee added.

Modi had opted to reform bureaucracy by inducting outside experts into the government and retiring non-performing bureaucrats on a mandatory basis.

The Prime Minister’s meeting took place in the wake of criticism of the economist by senior functionaries of the government and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Late last week, Indian Railway and Trade Minister Piyush Goyal had criticized Banjerjee branding him as “totally Left-leaning”.

The Indian-born economist shared the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2019 alongwith Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.


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