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Harvard vs Hard work: PM Narendra Modi takes dig at Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen

BT Online     March 1, 2017

Buoyed by new GDP numbers put out by Central Statistics Office on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi  took a dig at Harvard economist Amartya Sen and said 'Harvard people have now seen the difference between what they think and what hard work brings'.      

Prime Minister's statement came a day after CSO retained India's overall GDP growth projection for the FY 2016-17 at 7.1 per cent. The CSO's latest GDP number is in contrast to several economists who feared that India could lose its growth momentum due to demonetisation.

Some of the eminent economists including Amartya Sen had criticized the Prime Minister's demonetisation move and termed it a 'bad economics'.

However, Modi has now responded in style, saying: "Ek taraf vo hain jo Harvard ki baat karte hain, or ek taraf ye gareeb ka beta hardwork se desh ki economy badalne me laga hai (On the one hand they talk of what people at Harvard say, on the other, a poor person's son through his hard work is trying to grow the economy)," Modi said. He was addressing a rally in Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh.

Modi targeted Harvard economist becasue Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen had termed demonetisation 'a disaster on economy of trust'.

"Demonetisation is a disaster on economy of trust. In the last 20 years, the country has been growing very fast. But it is all based on acceptance of each other's word. By taking despotic action and saying we had promised but won't fulfill our promise, you hit at the root of this," Sen had said.

Earlier in January, while speaking to India Today, Sen said: "Demonetisation is a gigantic mistake, both in terms of its objective of dealing with corruption as well as the objective of one rapid jump of getting into a cashless economy."

The Nobel Prize winner asked if it was fair to demonetise 86 per cent of all currency to tackle black money. "These statistics were known to everyone and it must have been known to the Prime Minister as well. So if there is only 6 to 7 per cent of black money in cash, how do you expect to have a major victory? It is puzzling to me," Sen had said.

The economist felt that the policy had affected a large section of people in India as it was taken unilaterally by the Modi-led Central government. Almost two months after what he had said, Modi responded by saying,"Hard work is more important than (what) Harvard (thinks)."


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