Appointment of ‘neo-liberal’ sparks huge controversy in Kerala, economist issues clarification
As the controversy around Gita Gopinath’s appointment as the economic adviser of Kerala chief minister Pinaryi Vijayan rages, the Harvard professor has now come out with a statement saying that she will continue to work in Harvard University and will be advising the chief minister whenever she is asked to do on economic matters.
Gopinath said she will advise the chief minister on “impact on Kerala economy of global national and state events and policies”.
She also said she hope to play a convening role to connect various state departments to knowledge leaders from around the world in sectors relevant to the state. She said she is humbled by the opportunity she got to contribute her skill and effort to the development of her home state Kerala.
Gopinath, who is proponent of neo-liberalism, a policy which the ruling CPI(M) opposes, was appointed as economic adviser to Pinaryi Vijayan two days back. It has triggered a huge debate with in the Left circles since she pursues ‘supply side economic policy’ which the Left parties in general opposes tooth and nail. Her support to the policy initiatives of Narendra Modi has also added to the controversy that is raging in Kerala.
Marxist economist and former State Planning Board vice-chairman Prabhat Patnaik has warned the Left government against being trapped in the neo-liberal discourse of development. He said if Left front government thinks on the same lines as Modi does, then they will not be able to chart out alternative path.
Patnaik was the planning board vice chairman when LDF ruled the state in 2006-2011.
This is for the first time that the Kerala government is appointing an economic adviser to the chief minister. Usually the Planning Board vice-chairman and the finance minister crafts the Left government’s economic policy.
There are reports that the central leadership of CPI(M) had sought clarification from the state leadership about the circumstances under which the government has appointed a neo-liberal as the economic adviser.