- "Excellent meeting with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee": PM Modi said
- "His passion towards human empowerment is clearly visible," he said
- "We had healthy, extensive interaction on various subjects," PM said
Abhijit Banerjee, winner of the 2019 Economics Nobel, today called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who tweeted a photo of the meeting and said "India is proud of his accomplishments". The meeting took place in the backdrop of a huge debate spurred by the renowned economist's critique of the government's economic policies and sharp rejoinders from BJP leaders like Union Minister Piyush Goyal.
"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," PM Modi tweeted after the meeting.
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. pic.twitter.com/SQFTYgXyBX— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 22, 2019
Dr Banerjee, 58, said the Prime Minister talked about his way of thinking about India. "The PM 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. Because one hears about policies but one rarely hears about the thinking behind them," he said.
"He talked about the way he sees governance in particular. And why maybe the mistrust of the people on the ground colours our governance... And how it therefore creates structure of elite control over the governance process, (which is) not a responsive government. In that process, 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," the economist said.
"Thank you, PM... that was a unique experience."
In an interview to NDTV on Saturday, Dr Banerjee had said he had worked in Gujarat when PM Modi was Chief Minister and had an "excellent experience".
"I am not partisan in my economic thinking. We work with any number of state governments, many of which are BJP governments. We worked with the Gujarat Pollution (Control) Board when Gujarat was under (Narendra) Modi, and we actually had an excellent experience. I would say that they were willing to engage with the evidence and they implemented policies that followed with that experience," Dr Banerjee had said.
The Nobel laureate was responding to Union Minister Piyush Goyal calling him a "Left-leaning" person. "Abhijit Banerjee won the Nobel prize, I congratulate him. But you all know what his understanding is. His thinking is totally Left-leaning. He had praised the NYAY scheme effusively, but the people of India totally rejected his thinking," Mr Goyal had remarked when asked about Dr Banerjee's assessment that the economy was in a crisis.
Dr Banerjee had assisted the Congress in formulating the NYAY or minimum income guarantee scheme ahead of the national election earlier this year, but the party was routed.
Dr Banerjee shares the Nobel with Esther Duflo - they are married - and Michael Kremer.