Appointment of ‘capitalist’ adviser angers Left in Kerala

OUR BUREAU Kochi | Updated on January 18, 2018 Published on July 29, 2016

Harvard economist Gita Gopinath’s appointment as economic adviser to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has kicked up a political row on ideological grounds.

While the appointment of a ‘neoliberal’ economist as adviser to the LDF government has irked Left intellectuals, several political leaders, including Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, have hailed it.

Gopinath, 44, was born in Mysuru to Keralite parents. She is a tenured professor at Harvard University, is known for her research work in international macroeconomics. A product of Delhi School of Economics and Princeton University, Gopinath is on the advisory panel of Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Leading the pack of critics against her appointment is former Kerala CM VS Achuthanandan, who has written to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechuri. He reportedly pointed out that Gopinath was a cheerleader of the economic policies of the Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi governments.

Left-leaning economist Prabhat Patnaik is among the economists who have criticised the appointment. TV commentators have also contended that a ‘capitalist’ economic adviser may damage the Leftist orientation of the LDF government. But the CPI(M)’s Kerala secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has fully endorsed the appointment.

Responding to the criticism, Gopinath has pointed out that the position is honorary in nature without any remuneration.

She will not move to Thiruvananthapuram, not engage on a daily basis with the government or be involved in all its economic policies. She will give her views on specific issues raised by the Chief Minister.

Published on July 29, 2016
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