4 hours delay: Why Modi took so long to congratulate Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee?
New Delhi, Oct 15: Mumbai-born, Kolkata-bred economist Abhijit Banerjee, an alumnus of JNU, shared the 2019 Nobel Prize along with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, is one of the three recipients of this year's Nobel Prize for Economics. After 4 hours delay, a congratulatory message was tweeted by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's twitter handle. The delay stood out in this age of instant communication and especially coming from a leader who likes to be the first off the blocks in such matters.
Taking to Twitter, Modi wrote, "Congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee on being conferred the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. He has made notable contributions in the field of poverty alleviation."
Congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee on being conferred the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. He has made notable contributions in the field of poverty alleviation.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 14, 2019
By then, President Ram Nath Kovind had offered his congratulations, so did Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. But no one from the government had bothered to congratulate the alumnus of Presidency College and JNU who is only the eighth person of Indian origin to win a Nobel.
So what took him so long? Some social media users vent out asking whether the delay had anything to do with Banerjee's views.
Views on Indian economy
Just last week, Banerjee blamed "recentralisation" as among the reasons compounding India's economic slowdown.
Suggesting a slew of measures, including raising MNREGA wages, he advised the government to strengthen institutions, removing interference by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and withdraw cases "that look obviously politically motivated".
Banerjee had warned India of note ban pain
Banerjee has also been critical of the Modi government's demonetisation exercise previously in 2017 wherein on an interview to News18 he had expressed that he did not understand the logic behind it. He was also one among 108 signatories to a letter written this March that called on the Modi government to restore the integrity of statistical organisations. It should be noted that Banerjee was also one of the economists consulted by the Congress for the Nyay scheme.