Abhijit Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Photo Credit: Narendra Modi/Twitter)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee in New Delhi on Tuesday. After the meeting, the Prime Minister took to Twitter and posted the photo of the meeting. “Excellent meeting with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee. His passion towards 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,” the Prime Minister said. After meeting the Prime Minister, Banerjee said that he was ‘‘privileged to have met him, was a unique experience…his way of thinking about India is quite unique.” Indian-origin Abhijit Banerjee, his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer jointly won the 2019 Nobel prize in economics for their "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty" on October 14. The prestigious award was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. "The research conducted by this year’s Laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research,” the Nobel committee said in a statement.
Excellent meeting with Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee. His passion towards 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. pic.twitter.com/SQFTYgXyBX— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 22, 2019
Banerjee, 58 was born in West Bengal. He educated from University of Calcutta and was also an alumni of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He also went to Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. According to his profile on the MIT website, Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 2003, Banerjee had founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with his student Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan. Banerjee also served on the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He started dating Duflo and had his first child with her in 2012. He later married to her in 2015.
Recently, Modi government’s prominent minister Piyush Goyal had dubbed Banerjee as "Left-leaning", and said as his suggestion of basic income scheme was rejected by Indian voters, there was no need to "accept what he thinks". "If the BJP government, like the Congress party, had asked what were the numbers on the fraction of people under a particular income, would I have not told them the truth? I would have told them exactly, I would have been as willing. In terms of being a professional, I want to be professional with everyone," Banerjee told news channel NDTV. "I am not partisan in my economic thinking," he added.
"We work with any number of state governments, many of which are BJP governments. We worked with the Gujarat pollution board when Gujarat was under Mr (Narendra) Modi and we actually had an excellent experience. I would say that they were willing to engage with the evidence and they implemented policies that followed with that experience," the channel quoted him as saying. Banerjee had previously said that Indian economy is on a shaky ground. The data currently available do not hold any assurance for the country's economic revival anytime soon, he had stated. "In the last five-six years, at least we could witness some growth, but now that assurance is also gone," Banerjee told a news channel from the US.