In an interview with CNN News18, this year’s winner of Nobel prize in Economics Abhijit Banerjee shrugged off the responsibility of NYAY, claiming that it was not “necessarily a well-designed scheme”. Banerjee said that he only provided information and had no say in the design of the scheme.
#AbhijitBanerjeeToNews18 – Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee speaks exclusively to CNN-News18’s @maryashakil, says ‘I don’t take responsibility for NYAY, I only gave information it. NYAY was not necessarily a well-designed scheme’.
— News18 (@CNNnews18) October 19, 2019
Banerjee seemed taken aback when asked if he believed that NYAY was an idea whose time was yet to come. Fumbling while responding to the question, Banerjee said, “I don’t take the responsibility of NYAY, nobody asked me if that is how it should be designed and I don’t think it was necessarily well designed.”
Banerjee further added, “Even if the idea was politically supported, it may not have been the best design scheme, maybe afterwards if the UPA had won, they would have had to adjust the scheme because there would be political and economical pressures to change the scheme. My role in the all of that was not to design the scheme but to provide information that you could use to make choices.”
Banerjee’s comments contradict the comments made by the Congress party and its leaders crediting him for the NYAY scheme. While congratulating him for winning the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, Congress party had said that he was a key consultant for the NYAY programme. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also tweeted that Abhijit Banerjee had helped conceptualise NYAY.
Congratulations to #AbhijitBanerjee on winning the Nobel Prize in Economics.
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. https://t.co/joBYusVFKT
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 14, 2019
Banerjee is under intense fire for being a proponent of Congress’ ill-conceived Universal Basic Income scheme- NYAY. Recently, Union Minister Piyush Goyal slammed Abhijit Banerjee saying that his thinking is totally “left-leaning” and that his thinking was rejected by the Indian voters.
Abhijit Banerjee was one of the economists who was consulted by the Congress party before the announcement of their ambitious social welfare programme-NYAY (Nyutam Aay Yojana). Earlier this year, in his interview with Business Today, Banerjee defended himself stating that he had suggested a minimum income guarantee of Rs 2,500 per month, keeping in mind the fiscal discipline. However, the Congress announced a more extensive and ambitious Rs 6,000 a month with an outlay of Rs 3.60 lakh crore.