Great economic team if their advice counts – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-editorial/great-economic-team-if-their-advice-counts/articleshow/83755847.cmsSynopsis

Esther Duflo is not just a Nobel laureate in economics but also intimately knowledgeable about India and Indians, as well as an expert on poverty and poverty alleviation methods that work. Jean Drèze is one of the finest development economists and Dr Narayanan, an economist who has worked at the senior-most levels of the government.

It is welcome that the new government of Tamil Nadu has appointed an economic advisory council that is high-powered enough to advise the country as a whole. In fact, two members, Raghuram Rajan and Arvind Subramanian, have served as the government of India’s chief economic adviser. Esther Duflo is not just aNobelNSE 1.87 % laureate in economics but also intimately knowledgeable about India and Indians, as well as an expert on poverty and poverty alleviation methods that work. Jean Drèze is one of the finest development economists and Dr Narayanan, an economist who has worked at the senior-most levels of the government. It is an excellent team. It would be a pity if Tamil Nadu’s new Chief Minister M K Stalin were to use this committee the way a lot of people use books stacked on a shelf behind them as they sit — for show.

The government of Kerala had roped in Gita Gopinath, now chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as its adviser in 2016. That made for good copy, and gave Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s image a real-world update that Indian communists desperately need, steeped as they are in Soviet-type idylls and ideals, complete with Stalin, the original, in the CPI(M)’s case. If the government took any advice at all from that eminently capable economist, it has been kept a very close secret. In any case, once Prof Gopinath took up her job at the IMF, that raised the Communists’ anti-imperialist hackles and the state decided to make do without external economic advice. We hope that would not be the fate that befalls the Tamil Nadu chief minister’s advisers.

Apart from the usual development challenges, a state’s ability to productively draw on plentiful global savings should engage the advisory body.

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