Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee, who jointly won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize with his wife Esther Duflo and Harvard's Michael Kremer, said that people of India voted for Narendra Modi-led NDA government because they were looking for a leader who projected a view of the nation that spoke to them the most.
Banerjee, who was one of the advisors to the Congress on the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), said that the young, well-educated urban people are most likely to have voted for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
"I think there is a sense in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi constructed the most effective rhetoric and maybe the Balakot incident did not hurt as it sort of reinforced this particular factor," Banerjee said in an exclusive interview to India Today TV.
When asked if 2019 Lok Sabha elections was a rejection of the minimum income scheme or NYAY, he said, "I don't think that the election was fought on whether there should be handouts or not." NYAY was the flagship social welfare programme of the Congress party in its 2019 election manifesto. The scheme promised to give 20 per cent families in poorest of the poor category Rs 72,000 each annually.
Speaking about minimum income scheme idea, he said that it is certainly something we should consider because there are a bunch of people who are facing "enormous risks" suddenly. He said that there is no contradiction between having a well-functioning economy and being generous to the people who are worst off.
Commenting on the government's super-rich tax, he said, "I think the idea that high tax rates create extreme disincentives, there is no evidence for in my view". He said that rolling back of super-rich tax was not going to save the economy.
"I think that is the first step towards a stable economy where people are not desperate; they are not losing their livelihoods right and left. I think that was the right direction and I was supportive of the government's view in that general concept. I was disappointed when the taxes on rich were rolled back, he added.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar