A day after Union Minister Piyush Goyal called Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee’s thinking “totally left-leaning” and that it was “rejected by people of India”, the noted economist responded by saying that Goyal questioned his professionalism with such remarks and added that he is “non-partisan” in his economic thinking.
“I feel what’s not helpful in that kind of comment is more the questioning of my profession or our professionalism. I think the reason we were given this prize is partly because we are professionals,” Banerjee, in an interview with NDTV, said.
On BJP’s jibe that Banerjee had advised Congress on its NYAY scheme for the Lok Sabha polls, the economist said he would have provided the same economic data to the BJP government had it asked him.
“I might be privately partisan about various things but in terms of the economics that I want people to take seriously, I am not partisan at all. If somebody asks me a question…I don’t question their motives,” he added.
Banerjee, who won the Nobel prize for his work related to alleviating poverty, further said that he has worked with several governments in the past, including the Gujarat pollution control board, when the state was under Narendra Modi and had an “excellent experience” as authorities were willing to engage with the evidence.
Earlier, Goyal, the Union Minister of Commerce and Industries, had targeted Banerjee, saying he had supported and praised the NYAY scheme heavily. “Banerjee has recently got the Nobel Prize and I congratulate him. Lekin Unki Samjh Ke Baare Mein to Aap Sab Jante hain. (You all know about his understanding of economy). His thinking is totally left-leaning. He had supported NYAY scheme and had praised it heavily. People of India have totally rejected his thinking,” said Goyal.
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, were announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences 2019 for “their experimental approach to alleviating poverty”.
Banerjee in the past had come down heavily on the NDA government’s handling of the economy, saying it is “doing very badly”. In May, he signed a letter along with over 100 economists, raising concerns over “political interference” in statistical data.