India’s people are suffering “extremely” and the economy is still below 2019 levels, Nobel Prize-winning economist Abhijit Banerjee said on Saturday.
He was addressing students of Ahmedabad University virtually during the university’s 11th annual convocation, which was also held online.
Sharing his observations from a recent visit to West Bengal, Banerjee, speaking from the US, said people’s “small aspirations” have become even smaller now.
“You (students) are in a place where you can give back. Society really needs it. We are going through a time of extreme pain in India.
“I’ve just spent time in rural West Bengal and the stories you hear about, you know, all the aspirations that have been a little disappointed are very real…little aspirations that have become smaller now,” he said. he declared.
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“I think we are going through a moment of great pain. The economy is still well below what it was in 2019,” Banerjee said.
“We don’t know how much below, but it’s significantly below. And I’m not blaming anyone, I’m just saying,” said the economist who won the Nobel Prize with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer in 2019.
He also urged students not to succumb to pressure from family or society in choosing their career path, but to have the “courage” to do what they really want to do in life.
He also informed the public that he spent 10 days in Tihar Jail during his student years at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
“When I was about to leave JNU and go to Harvard, I was in a student protest, then I was taken to Tihar prison, and I was detained there for ten days. When I walked out, a lot of alums told me I ruined my career, and Harvard or the United States will never let you in. They thought I should have some regrets,” he said .
To make his point on choosing careers, Banerjee pointed out that two of India’s great filmmakers – Satyajit Ray and Shyam Benegal – had degrees in economics but chose to pursue a different path.
“Still, they’ve done well in life. So instead of specific training, what’s really important is that you’re a living, thoughtful, open human being. That’s the hardest part. important,” he said.
At the call, 833 students, including four doctoral students, from the private university graduated.
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