Can Abhijit Banerjee’s ideas eradicate poverty?

Sujayendra Das | Update:

This photo obtained 14 October, 2019 courtesy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) shows Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics at their home in Boston, Massachusetts on 14 October, 2019. Photo: AFPThe Nobel Prize in economics for the year 2019 has been awarded to Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee for his immense contributions towards eradication of poverty from the threshold of our societies. He has been conferred upon this honor jointly with Esther Duflo and Martin Kremer.

It is no doubt a great honour. The issue which Bannerjee has been working for the three decades is no doubt supportable, but still calls for high level debate as to whether poverty will be wiped off from the threshold of Indian and Bangladeshi societies or will remain forever.

Human psychology has a typicality of its own. We hesitate to shower rose petals on anybody’s achievement and tend to seek flaws and loopholes in anybody’s success. This is not only in India and Bangladesh, but a propensity also around the globe. The moment the announcement of the year 2019 Nobel Prize in economics was announced on 14 October 2019 by the Nobel committee, it generated unanimous joy around the globe as well as in India and Bangladesh. This was a reflection of our sincere earnestness towards Bengali brother along with Duflo and Kremer.

Abhijit is the third Bengali in the discipline of economics after Amartya Sen and Mohammad Yunus being conferred this coveted honour. Mohammad Yunus, though, won the Nobel peace prize, not the Nobel prize for economics.

After the announcement of 14 October 2019, some sections of Indian populace referred to this great moment as a historic moment but quite good number of Indian citizens as well as some Indian politicians have started giving our a pejorative impression about this news. This is an unfortunate habit of average Indians, a habit for derogation of our culture and integrity. We should give this up and rather revere the success of human beings.

All Bengalis from India and Bangladesh as well as people from other parts of India and entire world should pay tribute to Bannerjee. I thus look into the works of Banerjee towards the eradication of poverty.

Works of Abhijit Bannerjee, economist:
The Nobel Committee of Sweden jointly with the Royal Swedish Academy has conferred upon Abhijit Banerjee the Nobel Prize in economics for the year 2019 jointly with his spouse Esther Duflo and Marin Kremer. It is no doubt a great honour bestowed upon Banerjee in economics after Dr Amartya Sen.

Rabindranath Tagore was the first Bengali to have been conferred with the Nobel Prize in Literature way back in the year 1913. So in the field of economics Abhijit Bannerjee is the 2nd person to have been conferred with this prize.

Banerjee’s theory on abolishing poverty is no doubt a novel idea in this regard. The thoughts to abolish poverty from the midst of our societies is no doubt laudable but one thought always comes to mind -- will Banerjee be successful in his endeavour? In this regard one point should be borne in our mind - if one has the willpower and determination then the goal of Abhijit Banerjee is achievable.

As per the statistics available, an estimated 73 million people are residing in India with extreme poverty. Contrarily in our neighboring Bangladesh we find that the scenario is much more developed despite traces of poverty in that country. Banerjee’s mission deserves encomium but it is a long drawn process. His initiatives cannot be underrated at all. It is our sincerest hope that better sense will prevail among our leaders in the coming days.
Basic features of Dr Abhijit Banerjee’s work on poverty alleviation:
Mass campaign is required to abolish poverty by the government and non-government sectors.
Emphasise acceleration of literacy rates
Conduct field experiments as well as mass anti-poverty campaigns.
Introduce field experiments to arrest rampant poverty all over India.
Conducting randomised control trials, a process by which anti-poverty programmes can be easily evaluated and also provide good ideas about poverty from those with sound practical knowledge about practical poverty.
Establishment of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Laboratory by Abhijit Banerjee along with some of his key associates act as the cornerstone towards his drive and initiative to eradicate poverty from Indian societies.

How far can Dr Abhijit Banerjee’s thoughts actually eradicate poverty from India?
Eradicating poverty from Indian societies is not at all an easy task. Eradication of poverty will take place on the basis of joint efforts between government of India along with various non-governmental organisations based in different parts of the country.

As per the governance of the country is concerned, we must vow to shun corruption. Also as per the administration of India’s key bank, we have to convert it into an apolitical entity. In the past two to three years we find that India lost two talented people who were governors of the Reserve Bank of India. If we are not serious in this regard then how can we achieve financial success and prosperity in order to drive out poverty from all over India, thereby generating happiness among poor and downtrodden sections of Indian populace?

The task to alleviate poverty from all over India is no doubt daunting, but if sincerest efforts are initiated then results are bound to surface.
* Sujayendra Das writes from Kolkata, India


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