Gita Gopinath, the India-born Harvard economist and professor, is currently in the country for consultations with the Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. She was appointed the financial advisor of this southern state in late June this year.
The Mysore born 44-year old economist with impeccable credentials is often labelled as a 'neo-liberal', which experts fear may not go down well with the conservative ruling Left party in the state.
“The term neo-liberal does not have a good definition. It’s mostly used when you are angry with somebody or dislike someone, you call them a neo-liberal. Because otherwise, there is no concrete definition to the term," The Financial Express reported citing a Kerala-based television news channel.
According to Gopinath, she considers herself a trained technocrat and an economist, who rejects all ideological labels, the FE report said.
On being asked of her role in the Kerala government, Gopinath in an interview with BusinessLine said, "I have an advisory role. When I am asked for inputs, I give that. I think probably my more substantial role is in trying to connect with people in Kerala, who may be interested, with knowledge leaders in the world. They can, in turn, help solve some of the problems that matter for Kerala."
The John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University also said that India's 7.6 percent growth is good. She also said that India can sustain 8 percent growth for next couple of decades if the country focuses on reforms and review its policies towards health and education, the BusinessLine reported.
She also said the passage of goods and services tax (GST) will be quite transformational, and would be good for the fiscal balances of the States and Centre eventually, the BL report said.
The third woman to become a tenured professor at the Ivy League university, Gopinath also said that RBI's decision to cut interest rate by 25 basis point need not be based on the US Fed policy decision.
"I don’t think one needs to worry so much about holding back on a 25-basis point rate cut in expectation of what will happen in the US. But, in the long run, we will have to see how the US Fed moves," Gopinanth said in a interview with Business Standard.
"Everything right now points to a slow increase in interest rates in the US. Though that could change. But I would not say that this (rate cut) is premature. My expectation is that as things evolve, RBI will pay attention to not only domestic events but global events as well," she said.
On being asked whether the new RBI government is deviating from the original policy of continuity, Gopinath said she would not comment based on the recent policy, and rather wait for the next monetary policy committee meeting to pass her judgement, the BS report said.