Abhijit Banerjee on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who described the meeting as “healthy and extensive” while the Nobel laureate termed it as a “unique experience” and thanked Modi for giving him “quite a lot of time”.
Banerjee, who has been critical of the Modi government’s economic policies, also said while one hears about policies, one rarely hears about the thinking behind it and during the meeting Modi talked about the way he sees governance in particular.
Tweeting his picture with Banerjee, Modi said, “Excellent meeting with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee. His passion for human empowerment is clearly visible. We had a healthy and extensive interaction on various subjects. India is proud of his accomplishments. Wishing him the very best for his future endeavours.”
Banerjee, an Indian-born American professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, jointly with wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer of the US for “an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.
After his meeting, Banerjee said it was a privilege to have a meeting with the Prime Minister, who was kind enough to give him “quite a lot of time…Thank you Prime Minister. It was a unique experience.”
“He (Modi) talked about the way he sees governance in particular, why in some sense, maybe the mistrust of the people on the ground colours our governance and how it, therefore, creates structures of elite control over the governance process — not a responsive government. And in that process, he very nicely explained how he is trying to reform the bureaucracy to make it more responsive, to understand the ways in which people’s views need to be taken into account,” he said.
He said it is a very important point to create a bureaucracy that actually lives on the ground and gets its stimulus from how life is on the ground. “Without that, we get an unresponsive government,” he added.
Later during a media interaction, Banerjee said the prime minister joked about the media trying to “trap” him to make anti-Modi remarks.
“I had a cordial and good meeting. Prime Minister Modi started by cracking a joke on how media is trying to trap me to say anti-Modi things. He’s been watching TV and he’s been watching you guys. And he knows what you are trying to do,” he told reporters when asked about his meeting with the Prime Minister.