Former CEA Kaushik Basu slams forces working to destroy India's reputation

Kaushik Basu
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections this year, Indian economist and former chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu has said there were forces at work in the country to destroy global respect for India’s openness and tolerance.

“India commands a huge global respect for its policy of openness and tolerance. There are forces at work in the country that want to destroy this and make us in the image of failed nations,” said Basu during his speech at the 54th convocation for the outgoing batches at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). 

Reiterating the 108 Indian and foreign economists and social scientists’ concerns over political interference in statistical data in India, Basu also called for making data available even when it was critical of the government.

"I think it is of some concern that reputable economists 108 of them have drawn concern (over political interference in statistical data) given that India has a remarkable global reputation on this. We don't want that to be damaged. General data is fine but it is the employment data that we have to work harder and make it available even when it is critical. An economy goes through ups and downs but it is best to see what is happening and then to take corrective actions," Basu said on the sidelines of IIM-A's convocation. 

Basu was, however, optimistic about job scenario in India provided right policy package were adopted. 

"The job scenario worldwide is difficult with the rise of new technology its harder but for a country with relatively low wages if we get our policy package right we can continue to surge ahead with jobs and exports for quite sometime," he added. 

Earlier in his convocation address, Basu raised concerns over "unmistakable signs" of India's economy slowing down over the last few years. 

"The latest data on industrial growth, pertaining to January 2019, shows that India’s industry is barely growing, with the growth rate down to 1.7 per cent. In the year 2017-18 India’s exports were a little less than what the country exported in 2013-14, which means virtually zero per cent growth in exports on average for 4 years, which has rarely happened in the past. What is happening to overall growth? The official data shows that GDP growth in the last quarter has gone down. The concern about this, expressed recently by 108 leading economists, is a genuine concern," Basu said during his address at the convocation.

Basu further said that the slowdown could be avoided given India's strong fundamentals. "The two reasons why this is happening are a shortage of professionalism and a disproportionate focus on big businesses and their interests. The first pertains to reason and the second to morals. Professionalism means policymaking based on data and reasoning. The economy is too complex to be handled by hunch and gut feeling," Basu further stated.

IIM-A hikes fees by 4.5% for flagship MBA

The Board of Governors (BoG) at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has approved a roughly 4.5 per cent upward revision in fees for the two-year post graduate programme in management (PGP).

Up from Rs 22 lakhs for two years for the outgoing batch, the revised fees for the incoming PGP batch of 2019-21 stands at Rs 23 lakhs.  Last year, the fees were revised by 4.7 per cent.

Speaking on the sidelines of the institute's 54th convocation, Errol D'Souza, director of IIM-A said that the fees revision was in line with the inflation.

However, D'Souza did not disclose details of fee revision for its other programmes including one year post graduate programme for executives (PGPX). The highest revision in fees at IIM-A in the recent past was made for the 2015-17 batch at 11.44 per cent. 

Meanwhile, in a first, the premier B-school granted master in business administration (MBA) degrees as per the new IIM Act at its 54th convocation for students of all the three programmes including two-year post graduate programme (PGP), two-year post graduate programme in food and agribusiness management (PGP-FABM) and PGPX. IIM Act, which was promulgated last year, allows IIMs to now grant degrees instead of post graduate diploma.

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