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India should be aware of its image abroad, says Stiglitz

businesspaper Updated: Jul 07, 2016, 06:30 IST
HT Correspondent and PTI
HT Correspondent and PTI

BENGALURU: Renowned economist and Nobel laureate Joseph E Stiglitz on Thursday said India needs to be aware of its “image” abroad.

The difficulties faced by NGOs operating in India and the JNU controversy have put the country in the same group of nations, such as, Egypt and Russia, which can have a negative impact on foreign investors, he added. “One of the very big concerns is the difficulties of NGOs to operate in India. It puts India in the same group of countries like Egypt and Russia. And that is not a group of countries that you want to be in the same family.”

“The other thing is obviously without my knowing all the details of JNU controversy ... the closing down action in any university puts you in a small group of same countries. Turkey is another country. Most of these countries are authoritarian in nature ... That kind of thing can have very negative effect on foreign investors.”

Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001, was speaking at a discussion on Global Inequality: Causes and Consequences organised by the Azim Premji University.

Stating that India should address these issues if it wants to grow as an open economy, the 73-year-old former chief economist of the World Bank said: “The important thing to realise is that if India wants to grow as an open economy, you are part of an international community and they are making judgement, whether right or wrong, and have come to astrong view about these two events that have had a very strong effect on public opinion abroad about what is being going on in the last two years.”

“This is purely a statement without having evaluated the validity of those (issues)... I think… if those are wrong it is important for India to do better job of explaining and if they are right it is important for India to make sure that it is not doing those jobs.”

US-based Ford Foundation was among the handful of NGOs placed under a ‘watchlist’ in 2015 by the Centre, but was taken off the list later this year, ahead of the PM’s visit to the US, Stiglitz said. “Organisations like the Ford Foundation have played an important role in the development of India for decades.”

He also lauded the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) as being the singlemost innovative programme from India and a lesson to the whole world.

MGNREGA guarantees 100 days of wages in a financial year for adults willing to take up unskilled manual work.

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