22 September, 2020

'This Is India's Worst Fiscal Crisis'

He appears very much the mild-mannered absent-minded professor, in stark contrast to the larger-than-life Joseph Stiglitz whose shoes he recently filled. But Nicholas Stern, chief economist and senior vice-president, World Bank, has an advanta

'This Is India's Worst Fiscal Crisis'

Could you tell us about your Indian experiences?

I first came in 1974 to teach at Indian Statistical Institute. Those were exciting times with Kirit Parikh and B. Minhas and us having anti-planning lunches at Yojana Bhavan where the Planning Commission fellows also joined us in agreement and then got back to their planning. I wanted to research the way an Indian village and its agriculture function. This was published as a book, Palampur: The Economy of a North Indian Village. The village had been studied before in 1957 and 1962, and we studied it again in 1983 with Jean Dreze, and the second volume was published in 1993. I went back there again this time. I was here in the '90s talking a lot to Manmohan (Singh) and Montek (Ahluwalia) about reforms. I feel the last 8-9 years have been remarkable—the attitude to reforms has deepened. There's a readiness to take on reforms—power, governance structures, privatisation. Even the private sector has changed. Now they don't spend all their time lobbying with the government.

For me, Palampur has been a baseline for...


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