Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and several leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and MP Rahul Gandhi congratulated Indian-origin economist and academic professor Abhijit Banerjee for winning the 2019 Nobel Economics prize jointly with his wife French-American Esther Duflo and US' Michael Kremer.
The three jointly won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".
Terming their work as 'path-breaking', Singh said, "It gives me immense pleasure and pride to know that you are now the second Indian to receive a Nobel Prize in Economics, after my dear friend Professor Amartya Sen. I am delighted to know that your wife Esther Duflo is also a winner jointly of this Nobel Prize for Economics," Singh said in a letter to Banerjee.
He also outlined that Banerjee's scholarly work on poverty alleviation and development of new techniques such as 'Randomized Control Trials' were truly "path-breaking".
"I am particularly pleased, as a student of economics, that the Committee chose to honour pioneering innovations in development economics that are very applicable and useful to policymaking in developing countries such as India," the former prime minister said.
"Congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee on being conferred the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. He has made notable contributions in the field of poverty alleviation," Modi tweeted.
Congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee on being conferred the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. He has made notable contributions in the field of poverty alleviation.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 14, 2019
Banerjee has been a well-known critic of the Modi government's economic policies. On Monday too, Banerjee, told a news channel from the US that the Indian economy is on shaky ground. The data currently available do not hold any assurance for the country's economic revival anytime soon, he stated. "Indian economy is on shaky ground. After witnessing the present (growth) data, one just can't be sure about it (revival of economy in the near future). In the last five-six years, at least we could witness some growth, but now that assurance is also gone," Banerjee said. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also congratulated Banerjee in a tweet, stating that it was the Indian-American economist who had helped frame the party's NYAY scheme.
Congratulations to #AbhijitBanerjee on winning the Nobel Prize in Economics. Abhijit helped conceptualise NYAY that had the power to destroy poverty and boost the Indian economy. Instead we now have Modinomics, that’s destroying the economy and boosting poverty. https://t.co/joBYusVFKT — Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 14, 2019
Congress interim president, Sonia Gandhi also congratulated Banerjee, Duflo and Kramer for winning the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
In a statement, Gandhi said Banerjee has made the country of his origin proud by this spectacular achievement and his fellow recipient's work in "an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty", had helped millions across the globe — including India, come out of poverty.
"Their methodology, approach and experiments were exemplary and of extreme contemporary relevance. His recognition as a Nobel laureate has delighted every Indian," she said.
A proud day for JNU
Banerjee's former professors at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, where he pursued his Masters in Economics, remembered him as among the "best" students they had taught.
Retired professor Anjan Mukherjee, who taught Banerjee at the Centre For Economic Studies and Planning (CESP), said he has sent his former student a congratulatory email.
"I have sent him an email. He was a very good student, among the best that we have taught. We always expected that he would go far and he did..."He has been at the forefront for many years. When his book came out in 2008, that is the time when we thought that he would get the Nobel. We were all hoping that he would get it," he told PTI.
Banerjee pursued his Masters in Economics from the JNU and had courted arrest in 1983 following a standoff between the varsity administration and the students. He had spent around 10 days in Tihar jail. The charges against him were subsequently dropped.
"There are not too many teachers in India who can say that they have produced a Nobel laureate. All of us at the CESP can proudly say so," Mukherjee added.
JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar also expressed pride at Banerjee's achievement.
"Professor Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, a JNU alumnus (MA in Economics, 1983) wins Nobel Prize (together with two fellow economists) for contributing towards alleviating global poverty. JNU is proud of his achievement. Our alumni are torchbearers of JNU. We are proud of them," he tweeted.
West Bengal rejoices
In West Bengal, every one from his economist mother to politicians and academia — all hailed Banerjee's achievement.
"Hearty congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee, an alumnus of South Point School and Presidency College Kolkata, for winning the Nobel Prize in Economics. Another Bengali has done the nation proud. We are overjoyed," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a tweet.
The chief minister's tweet came on a day when Sourav Ganguly, another Bengal icon and former India skipper, was set to assume the reins of the national cricket board.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar also lauded the Nobel laureate and said the feat has made everyone proud.
"Hearty congratulations to Abhijit Banerjee, an alumnus of Presidency College Kolkata, for winning the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2019 for his work in the development economics, with particular emphasis on alleviating global poverty," Dhankhar said on Twitter.
Abhijit Banerjee is an alumnus of South Point School in the city and Presidency College (now university), where he completed his BSC degree in economics in 1981. He received his PhD in 1988 from Harvard University.
The 58-year-old Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation international professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Nirmala Banerjee, his mother, said it was a proud moment for her.
"I am very happy and proud of his achievements. I am yet to speak to him. I think he must be sleeping as it's still night in the US," she said.
"He was always a brilliant and a disciplined student," she recalled.
About her 47-year-old daughter-in-law Esther Duflo, Banerjee said, "She is so young and so intelligent".
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 15, 2019 08:46:47 IST