‘Completely surprised, but never obsessed about it’: Abhijit Banerjee on Nobel Prize

Abhijit Banerjee is only the second Indian to receive the Nobel Prize in economics after Amartya Sen.
Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee shakes hands with Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf as he receives the Economic Nobel at a ceremony in Stockholm, on December 10.(Reuters Photo)
Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee shakes hands with Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf as he receives the Economic Nobel at a ceremony in Stockholm, on December 10.(Reuters Photo)
Updated on May 05, 2020 10:08 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

Economist Abhijit Banerjee said on Tuesday that he was completely surprised when he got to know that he has been chosen for the Nobel Prize.

“There was no premonition, or expectation. I never thought about it, I was completely surprised,” Banerjee said while speaking to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

When asked if he was obsessed about it, Banerjee said, “If you worry about it, you will obsess a lot. And I am good at not obsessing about thing which don’t have any impact on my life.”

“I am not saying it was not a big deal, I was saying that you can obsess about it but it’s not like there is a process for it understood by anybody. So, anything can happen,” he added.

This was part of the conversation that Gandhi was holding with Banerjee on the economic fall out of the Covid-19 crisis, as part of his series of discussion with experts.

They discussed the ways in which this crisis can be managed and other disasters can be averted and also highlighted how the relief measures could be planned better.

Gandhi held first such talk with Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan during which the latter said that Rs 65,000 crore is required to help the poor affected by the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

He also said that unemployment numbers are really worrying and India needs to be “cleverer” about lifting the lockdown.

Banerjee, an Indian-American economist, had won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, along with Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Michael Kremer of Harvard University “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.

He received the Nobel Prize in Economics at a ceremony in Oslo in December last year.

Banerjee is only the second Indian to receive the Nobel Prize in economics after Amartya Sen. Born on February 21, 1961, Banerjee was educated at Presidency College, Kolkata, and New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University from where he obtained his master’s degree in economics. He completed his doctoral studies at Harvard in 1988.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022