Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee criticised demonetisation, advised Rahul Gandhi on formulation of NYAY scheme

India’s Abhijit Banerjee on Monday won this year’s coveted Nobel Prize for Economics along with his French economist wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer of Harvard University in the US. While congratulations are pouring in for the India-born celebrated economist, not many would know that both he and his wife had criticised the demonetisation announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 and advised the then Congress President Rahul Gandhi on formulating his party’s minimum-wage guarantee scheme, NYAY, ahead of this year’s Lok Sabha polls.

She had said, “We do not know that yet and we might never know. This is because there is no effective mechanism to measure GDP creation in the informal economy. I was told that informal economy GDP is calculated by indexing it to the formal economy GDP. If that is the case, we might never know the exact magnitude of loss. And the government might use these figures to argue that there was no significant setback. People are claiming workers are returning from construction sites to their villages. But there isn’t much high-frequency data on these kinds of things, which would capture the short-run pain.”

While congratulating Banerjee on his Nobel achievement, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi revealed that the celebrated economist had helped him formulate his much-talked-about NYAY scheme before the elections. The Congress had promised to implement NYAY if it won the parliamentary polls. Gandhi wrote, “Abhijit helped conceptualise NYAY that had the power to destroy poverty and boost the Indian economy. Instead we now have Modinomics, that’s destroying the economy and boosting poverty.”

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