I am a technocrat and reject all ideological labels: Kerala CM’s economic advisor Gita Gopinath

Gita Gopinath, a professor at Harvard, held talks with Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac earlier this week.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 6, 2016 1:43 pm
gita gopinath, kerala, kerala economic advisor, pinarayi vijayan, harvard professor gita gopinath, CPM, gita gopinath interview, who is gita gopinath Harvard economist Gita Gopinath, appointed as financial advisor to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Harvard professor Gita Gopinath, who was appointed as the economic advisor to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, told a television news channel that she rejects all ideological labels pinned on her.

“This controversy came as a big surprise to me. I was very surprised when I saw the reaction that came out because I think of myself as a technocrat. I am a technocrat. I am a trained economist. I think about issues. I use my economic training to devise solutions. I am purely a technocrat and I reject all ideological labels,” she told Asianet News in an interview.

Gopinath’s appointment had stirred a controversy in Kerala when Communist leaders and politburo members had raised alarms about the state government taking advice from a person who is reportedly a passionate advocate of neo-liberal policies and market economy. However, CM Vijayan took a firm stand saying there was nothing wrong in sharing views with Gopinath, a Malayali who has earned international reputation for her work.

Gopinath, in the interview, made it clear that the term ‘neo-liberal’ does not have a good definition.

“It’s mostly used when you are angry with somebody or dislike someone, you call them a neo-liberal. Because otherwise there is no concrete definition to it,” she said.

The Harvard professor, who is in Kerala, held talks with Finance Minister Thomas Issac and was scheduled to meet the chief minister as well. The finance minister’s office clarified Gopinath’s visit was a ‘courtesy call.’ She told reporters that her role was confined to advising the chief minister and making connections for the state government departments.

“It is then up to the Chief Minister to consider my advice, and up to the relevant departments to continue conversations with the various sector experts. Given this advisory nature of the appointment and my location, I do not anticipate frequent interactions with the media to explain government policies or my opinion on those,” she said in an email statement.

Gopinath, who hails from Kannur, said in the interview that some of her summer vacations were spent in Kerala.

“Being born a girl in India, it matters a lot what family you are born into. Being born into a Malayali family that followed a matriarchal system, I always felt loved and had a high sense of self-worth. There was never a perception that I was second-class relative to boys. That gave me confidence,” she said.

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  1. D
    Oct 6, 2016 at 8:07 am
    Sheer bluff, technocrats too have ideologies. In case you claim yourself a technocrat, you are wrong person, you need to be economist. Modesty is the best policy. In stead of making noise with your lips, speak with your results
    1. B
      B S
      Oct 6, 2016 at 10:04 am
      Young and energetic people must be honored...
      1. D
        DS Gopalan
        Oct 6, 2016 at 8:18 am
        She is an advisor, with deep knowledge of economics. So, she can only advise/recommend at the most. It is upto the CM and others to take decisions. There is nothing wrong and it is really naive to say" dont make noise with your lips, speak with your results "!! How can she implement any decision? It is the govt of kerala who can choose to accept/act or not act.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;By the way, there have been cases in the centre- when Sam Pitroda was appointed as advisor or so to then PM Rajiv hi- w gamut of Computerisation/connectivity/telcom in India improved due to that. Let us be open in accepting the expertise all around .
        1. K
          Oct 6, 2016 at 11:02 am
          She protesteth and how! Something's fishy, too much verbiage!
          1. M
            Oct 6, 2016 at 8:06 am
            Very wise move from both the sides. Congratulations in advance.
            1. R
              Oct 6, 2016 at 11:05 am
              In India, All sates every major question facing our country, involving our security, our economy, our environment and our health is decided, yet the all parties decide those questions not by engaging with one another, but by trying to shout each other. Just as members of parties fear data that undermines their ideological beliefs, these state legislators feared scientific evidence that undermines their radical religious beliefs and Parties Ideology. Economist can actually be defined a few different ways: it’s the study of scarcity, the study of how people use resources, or the study of decision-making. Economics often involves topics like wealth, finance, recessions, and banking, leading to the misconception that economics is all about money and the stock market. Actually, it’s a much broader discipline that helps us understand historical trends, interpret today’s headlines, and make predictions for coming decades.lt;br/gt;One of the central tenets of economics is that people want certain things and will change their behavior to get those things – in other words, people will respond to incentives. A good school district provides an incentive for parents to try to move to a neighborhood if they want to ensure their kids get a good education. Lower wages in another country provide an incentive for a factory to relocate overseas to cut down on costs. High taxes provide an incentive for people to look for ways to hide their income because they want to keep more of their money.lt;br/gt;Economic study ranges from the very small to the very large. The study of choices by individuals (like how someone decides to budget their paycheck each month) is called microeconomics. Researchers have used the tools of microeconomics to measure the link between health and economic well-being, study the impact of microloans in poor countries, and understand why people never seem to save as much for retirement as they would like.lt;br/gt;The study of governments, industries, central banking, and the boom and bust of the business cycle is called macroeconomics. Macroeconomics can help us answer some of the biggest questions about how and why recessions occur, how surges in immigration or gas prices will affect the economy, or what the aging of the Baby Boomer generation could do to the national debt.lt;br/gt;Important public policy debates revolve around questions of economics. Governments the world over employ economists to help understand how government health programs will affect the incentives of doctors, whether farm subsidies will raise or lower prices at the grocery store, and the best ways to fight poverty.lt;br/gt;Much of economics involves using data gathered by governments, businesses, or in the laboratory to test hypotheses about whether a certain program, event, or incentive will have the expected effect. Another branch of economics focuses on using economic theory to make predictions about how people and markets will behave.
              1. D
                Oct 6, 2016 at 10:14 am
                Gopinath, a Malayali. She says she is a technocrat, is it necessary to mention Malayali
              2. S
                Oct 6, 2016 at 7:52 am
                if she can save Kerala Economy from the current mess. it is well and good and we Keralites will salute her,
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