Amid criticism over her appointment as financial adviser to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Harvard University professor Gita Gopinath has said she will not relocate to Kerala for her new assignment which will be confined to giving advice to the CM.
“No expectation that I will move to Thiruvananthapuram to engage on a daily basis with the government or be involved in all its economic policy decisions. I will continue as a full time professor at Harvard University and carry on my commitments including research and teaching,” she said in an interview to The Indian Express.
She added that her role would be confined to providing advice to the Kerala CM and to make connections for the various departments.
“It is then up to the honourable CM 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.
Gopinath, who is known for her strong views on liberalisation, free trade and even privatisation of public sector enterprises, added that she was honoured to get an opportunity to serve Kerala, one of the two states ruled by the CPM. She clarified that this was an ‘honorary position’.
“Kerala has made substantial progress on social indicators like health and education, and I hope to contribute towards further developing sustainable policies for the state that address its unique opportunities and challenges,” she said.
On how she plans to tackle economic challenges of Kerala, a state with a relatively stable welfare economy with consistent flow of money from non-residential Keralites, she said Kerala had made substantial progress on social indicators like health and education and she hopes to contribute towards further developing sustainable policies to address its unique opportunities and challenges.
Gopinath, however, did not reply on whether she would be advising the state to retain its unique welfare economic
models or push for market-finance economy for the larger growth, a question raised by a section of CPM leaders.
She said she would respond to any requests from the Kerala CM for advice on the impact of global, national and
state events and policies on Kerala’s economy. “Given my location, I anticipate most of this will be done remotely,
rather than in person,” she said.
Making it clear that she is taking the assignment seriously, Gopinath said she hopes to play a convening role to connect various state departments to knowledge leaders from around the world in sectors relevant to Kerala like public finance, management, labour and development economics.