When a socialist wins a Nobel Prize, does it automatically belong to all of us? Are we all Nobel laureates today then? Anyway, jokes and socialism apart, as soon as the news spread yesterday that Indian origin economist Abhijit Banerjee had won the Nobel Prize, an army of trolls descended on this article I had written in March this year which spoke about the ill-conceived NYAY scheme by Congress, which was then led by Rahul Gandhi.
As Rahul Gandhi's NYAY adviser Abhijit Banerjee wins Nobel Economics Prize 2019, here is what he had suggested for India:
1. There will be a need to raise taxes. 2. Need for “inflation tax”
Read what his ideas would mean for India:
— OpIndia.com (@OpIndia_com) October 14, 2019
This was when Abhijit Banerjee, an adviser to the NYAY scheme, had spilt the beans on how the scheme would raise both taxes as well as inflation. At the time, I had written quoting the history of UPA government achieving double-digit food inflation. About how overall inflation was at 10.9% by 2013, the last full year of the UPA government. This meant that every ordinary person who deposited Rs 100 in a savings account at the standard interest rate of 4% was getting around 7% poorer every year. And, of course, I recalled the last time Congress gave a call for ‘Gareebi Hatao’: it ended with inflation at 29%, top tax rate at 97% and GDP growth at 1.2%!
Apparently, all that sounds great to trolls, now that Abhijit Banerjee or Rahul Gandhi has a Nobel Prize.
I am not sure of the rules of this game. Okay, so NYAY is awesome because Abhijit Banerjee won a Nobel Prize. But then, how far does this ‘argument by authority’ go? By the same logic, am I supposed to put up my personal qualification against each individual troll and each time I do better, I “win” and therefore NYAY is terrible?
Why not read the NYAY offer document carefully instead and see if it sounds like a scam? Here it is, straight from the Congress manifesto:
Did you catch that? The goal of NYAY scheme, which was included in the Congress manifesto and conceptualised by. Abhijit Banerjee, was to eliminate “abject” poverty by the year 2030!
Presumably, the tax hikes and inflation would be in force immediately. However, in order to see the promised elimination of poverty, Rahul Gandhi would have us wait till 2030. That means the promise to eliminate poverty becomes null and void unless Congress wins not one, not two, but literally three General Elections in a row: 2019, 2024 and 2029! Something that would likely never have happened no matter what.
And just in case Congress did actually manage to do the seemingly impossible and win three General Elections in a row, you still don’t really get anything. Read carefully. They never said they would remove poverty by 2030: they would only remove “abject poverty.” Which could mean anything? They never defined it.
So who wants to step into that one? Who wanted to wait 11 years and for Congress to win 3 General Elections in a row before asking when poverty would be removed? Apparently, trolls did. The same trolls who judge a sweeping reform like GST in a week or so.
But people of India are not trolls. They take their future seriously. Most Mutual Funds will warn you about market risks and that “past performance is not a guarantee of future success.” Congress was trying to sell something even more audacious. Their pitch was: “Past failure is a guarantee of future success.” The people of India understood that. And they made their decision.
Of course, in this Game of Trolls over somebody’s Nobel Prize, the most fundamental question has gone unnoticed. Why is an Indian origin person winning a Nobel Prize such a big circus at all for trolls and for media? The United States has close to 400 Nobel Prize winners. Counting both Indians and winners of Indian origin, you would barely be in double digits. India is home to about one out of six people in the world. What explains this systematic underperformance by our country? Who is to blame for this monumental failure to develop our human resource potential? BJP or RSS? Oh, wait.
Perhaps Congress should have included in its manifesto that if you make them win the next ten general elections in a row, they will make sure India’s score in terms of Nobel winners increases by an undeclared amount. I’d have voted for that.