While India is facing a severe economic slowdown in 2019, an economist of Indian origin has bagged the Nobel Prize for Economics in the United States. Some people might think of it as irony but in fact, it is a proud moment for every Indian and we must celebrate it. Born in Mumbai, Abhijeet Banerjee studied in JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) of Delhi, and University of Kolkata before he went on to complete his Ph.D. from the Harvard University in 1988.
The economist has also written several books and articles on economics. One of his books ‘Poor Economics’ has also received the Business Book of the Year award by Goldman Sachs. His wife who is a French-American by origin is also a professor at MIT. Along with his wife and Sendhil Mullainathan, Abhijeet founded the J-PAL (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab) in 2003 which is active to date. As per the official website of MIT, Abhijeet is still one of the directors of the lab.
Abhijeet is known for his experimental ways of understanding and gauging the economy. He is always known for asking questions that can force you to think deeply. In his book ‘Poor Economics‘ he has raised several questions, tried to answer them, and has suggested ways to reduce global poverty.
His questions like why kids living in poor localities fail to learn even after going to school regularly and do people who have lots of kids are poorer as compared to the ones who have few or none can stir-up your mind and force you to think differently as far as economics is concerned. The ailing economy of India surely needs someone like him to show the government the right direction. However, is the government open towards innovative ideas is the question that can haunt many economists living in the country today.
Strangely enough, West Bengal has given many economists to India in the past as well. Economists like Amartya Sen and Kaushik Basu hail from West Bengal and today when Abhijeet has received the Nobel Prize it must surely be a proud moment to the Bongs as well. Amartya Sen who is also a Nobel Laureate is considered to be one of the finest Indian economists to date.
Will Abhijeet Banerjee emerge to be like him or will he truly like to contribute towards the Indian economy is the question that only time can tell. Abhijeet Banerjee was also quoted as saying that he did not understand the logic behind the demonetization move that was taken by the Indian government.
He has also said that the government should not imagine that things will work they must instead work on building sound policies. We can only hope that the Indian government at least listens to this economist who has been bestowed with nothing less than Nobel Prize for his contribution towards economic reforms.