Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee praised the BJP-led central government's flagship "Ayushman Bharat Yojana" after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, saying that schemes like these are necessary to ensure that entire families aren't crippled when one among them falls ill.
"I think it's very much needed. It does something very important, like dealing with the fact that healthcare expenses wipe entire families out. It does something very important there. I think it is something that we need. We need to find ways so that families don't lose all their assets when somebody in the family gets sick. So I think it serves a very important gap in our economic structure," news agency ANI quoted him as saying at a press conference.
Launched in September 2018, the Ayushman Bharat Yojana aims to fulfil the medical needs of 10 crore poor and lower middle class families through a health insurance plan providing a cover of Rs 5 lakh per family.
PM Modi's interaction with Abhijit Banerjee took place in the backdrop of the latter's criticism of the centre's economic policies, spurring sharp rebuttals from BJP leaders such as Piyush Goyal.
The economist said PM Modi elaborated on his vision, besides listing out his government's efforts at eliminating red tapism, during their meeting. "He very nicely explained how he's trying to reform the bureaucracy to make it more responsive, to understand ways in which people's views need to be taken into account and to expose them to reality on the ground. It is important for India that we have a bureaucracy that lives on the ground," he added.
The Prime Minister seemed just as pleased with the outcome of the interaction. "Excellent meeting with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee. His passion towards human empowerment is clearly visible. We had a healthy and extensive interaction on various subjects. India is proud of his accomplishments. Wishing him the very best for his future endeavours," he tweeted alongside a photograph with the economist.
Abhijit Banerjee, an Indian-origin economist, was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences along with his French-American wife Esther Duflo and American economist Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".
(With inputs from ANI)