Tamil Nadu Forming a Dream Team of Economists Any State Would Wish For

The Tamil Nadu government will form an economic advisory council comprising Nobel laureate Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, and former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan, to advise the chief minister.

The other members of the council will be former chief economic advisor to the central government Arvind Subramanian, development economist Jean Dreze and former Union finance secretary S Narayan, Governor Banwarilal Purohit announced in his ceremonial address during the first session of the 16th state legislative assembly in Chennai on Monday

“Based on the recommendation of the council, the government will revitalise the state’s economy and ensure that benefits of economic growth reach all segments of society,” Purohit said.

The members and their expertise:

Prof. Esther Duflo — A poverty alleviation expert and Nobel laureate, Esther is a Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA). Along with Professor Abhijit Banerjee, she is a co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a global centre that aims to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.

Dr Raghuram Rajan — A former RBI governor and a Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago‟s Booth School. Rajan’s research interests are in banking, corporate finance, and economic development. Rajan’s was one of the strong voices against the decision to carry out demonetisation by the Narendra Modi government in 2016. Rajan also helped design India’s core social-security project, MNREGA.

Dr Arvind Subramanian — Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) to the Government of India between 2014 and 2018, is now Senior Fellow, Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development Professor at Ashoka University. Among the major ideas and policies he initiated and helped implement included a simplified goods and services tax (GST), attempts to tackle the Twin Balance Sheet challenge, creating the financial and digital platform for connectivity (the so-called JAM trinity), charting a new fiscal framework, and Universal Basic Income.

Prof. Jean Dreze — A development economist, Dreze is Visiting Professor at Ranchi University in India. Dreze, who has been active in various campaigns for social and economic rights, will likely balance out free-market-oriented perspectives.

Dr S. Narayan — A former bureaucrat with nearly four decades in public service, who had served as economic advisor to the Government of India during the Vajpayee administration in 2003-04. He is a proponent of the Dravidian brand of politics. He worked in various departments in Tamil Nadu and is the author of The Dravidian Years: Politics and Welfare in Tamil Nadu, a book that traces the journey of the AIADMK and DMK in governance in Tamil Nadu. 

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