Abhijit Banerjee delivers 1st Shaibal Gupta memorial lecture
Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee on Monday said that sometimes change is purely due to inertia and sometimes due to persistence, emphasising that formal rules matter in bringing about change.
He was delivering the first Shaibal Gupta Memorial Lecture on the topic “under the thumb of history”, organised by the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) and the Centre for Economic Survey and Public Finance (CEPPF)
A Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachussets Institute of Technology, Banerjee discussed the two leading views of history and political institutions – one, that institutions are mainly products of historical logic and, second, that accidents, leaders, and decisions have a significant impact.
“Shaibal Gupta felt proud of talking about the long history of Bihar. I am also close to Shaibal’s interest. History and culture do have an impact and studies have also shown it. It is the institutional framework that persists such as the persistence of extractive institutions set-up during the colonial period and the impacts of zamindari systems even decades after its abolishment,” he added.
Maintaining that transition does not just happen and there is no need to get easily pessimistic, Banerjee referred to women’s participation in the panchayati raj institutions and the 73rd amendment bill, which was to ensure 33% quota for women in the legislative assemblies and Lok Sabha.
“You change the rule and the performance changes. Mandated representation of women in PRIs has affected political decisions, short-medium term outcomes and impact. If you look back, a lot has been done, though a lot more needs to done,” he said, adding that beyond policies, even small accidents or natural calamities have long-term impacts.
He concluded by saying that in the end, the choice facing the field of political economy is very simple. “It can embrace grand theories that will offer us the satisfaction of strong and simple answers. We need to be eclectic in choosing indicators in what the political constraints may be and make the best economic analysis and use the best data possible to improve the efficiency of government programs for the welfare of the people,” he added.
Chief secretary Tripurari Sharan invited Banerjee to Bihar for his inputs and cited an example of rabi procurement that how at times the policy designs get thwarted at the ground level by vested interests. Others who spoke on the occasion included Dr Harish Khare, chairperson, ADRI, finance department principal secretary Dr S Siddharth, who is also the CEPPF director and ADRI member secretary Professor PP Ghosh.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, could have to rely on private fuel stations to refuel its fleet of about 6,700 buses as oil companies have instructed retail outlets not to supply diesel in bulk because it is against the rules, news agency PTI reported. A senior BMTC official told PTI buses are refuelled at depots where they have diesel stock for about a week.
Chandigarh and its adjoining towns of Panchkula and Mohali received the much-awaited pre-monsoon showers on Wednesday morning that brought a significant drop in the mercury and relief from the sweltering heat. According to the India Meteorological Department, rain is forecast with the onset of monsoon by July 1 when the entire region will be covered. In Chandigarh, the night temperature was 28 degrees, a 3.4 degree fall in the past 24 hours.
Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar, who is slated to appear before a Delhi court later this week in connection with a money laundering case, on Tuesday said Shivakumar is not aware about the contents of Enforcement Directorate's charge sheet against him and is yet to receive a copy of it. A Delhi court last month summoned him and others in a money laundering case registered against him in 2018.
Bengaluru logged 887 of Karnataka's 968 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, compared to 592 (of 617 in the state) the day before. The health department said Tuesday's positives included backlog cases which could not be ported from Indian Council for Medical Research database due to a technical glitch. Data indicated that 337 people were declared to have recovered from Covid in the state, of whom 293 were from Bengaluru.
Streets wore a deserted look and shops remained closed amid eerie calm in Udaipur on Wednesday, the first morning after a man was beheaded for supporting former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who was suspended from the party earlier this month for her controversial remarks on Prophet Mohammad.