If anybody had a doubt about the development focus of the Left Front government in Kerala, here's another proof that their suspicion is misplaced.
The government last week appointed Gita Gopinath, a Harvard economist, as financial advisor to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, raising eye brows among his comrades who thought her appointment was not in sync with the party's ideology.
However, Vijayan seems to be unfazed. "For us, she is one of the leading world economists with roots in Kerala. What is wrong in asking her views and opinions on world economy and make use of whatever we want?" he told The Indian Express.
Gopinath is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and of Economics at Harvard University and specialises in international finance and macroeconomics. She is also a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, member of the economic advisory panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a managing editor of the Review of Economic Studies. Before joining Harvard, Gopinath was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business.
Gopinath was third woman ever and the first Indian after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen to be named tenured professor at Harvard University, according to the Economic Times. She was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011 and was also a member of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G-20 Matters for India's Ministry of Finance.
Born in Mysore, her father TV Gopinath is a farmer and entrepreneur in Mysore. Gopinath did her under-graduation from Delhi's Lady Shriram College and MA from the Delhi School of Economics before moving to the US. She got her post-graduation degree from the University of Washington and her PhD from Princeton University.
Speaking the Economic Times in 2010, Gopinath had said, "When I was doing my bachelors from Delhi University, India experienced its first major external financing and currency crisis in 1990-91. This inspired me to pursue graduate work in economics." She eventually became a fervent student of currency values, depreciation, bailouts, and capital flow, according to the Harvard Gazette.
After outgoing RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announced that he will not be seeking a second term, Gopinath had written, "The government never liked Rajan’s insistence on pursuing interest-rate cuts gradually in order to promote price stability; instead, it wanted to see them slashed aggressively."
"But, following the episode between Rajan and the government – and considering the unsavory manner in which it played out – there is reason to worry that India, too, may now stumble in its economic governance. With commodity prices recovering, risks of a Chinese hard landing growing, and the European Union facing an uncertain future, that is an outcome that India can ill afford."