Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen has said that India had moved backwards with an alarming speed in the last four years sine Narendra Modi became the prime minister adding that the company had taken ‘a quantum jump in the wrong direction.’
“Things have gone pretty badly wrong… It has taken a quantum jump in the wrong direction since 2014. We are getting backwards in the fastest-growing economy,” PTI quoted Sen as saying.
The celebrated economist was speaking at an event in Delhi to launch Bharat Aur Uske Virodhabhas, the Hindi edition of his book ‘An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradiction’ that he co-authored with development economist Jean Dreze.
He said that 20 years ago, of the six countries in this region — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan, India was the second best after Sri Lanka. “Now, it is the second worst. Pakistan has managed to shield us from being the worst.”
Blaming the government for deflecting from the core issues of governance including problems of inequality and caste system, Sen said that Dalits in particular are going around without any kind of certainty about their next meal, healthcare or education.
Taking a dig at the BJP-led government, he added that during freedom struggle it was difficult to see that a political battle could be won by playing up the Hindu identity, but that has changed now.
The 84-year-old economist also asked non-BJP parties to join together to defeat Modi in the next elections. “It is not a battle of one entity against the other (or) Mr Modi against Mr Rahul Gandhi, it is an issue of what India is,” he said.
Later, Dreze too took a dig at the central government’s new health insurance scheme, Ayushmann Bharat, by calling it a hoax. “The budget (for the scheme) for this year is 2,000 crore. Even if it is spent, it’s less than 20 rupees per person,” he said.
Sen, a votary of welfare economics, has been very vocal on the economic policies of the central government headed by Modi. In the past he had termed the demonetisation announcement by Modi as an unguided “missile” fired “unilaterally” by the government without adhering to the democratic conventions.
“Every now and then we get missiles fired by the government unilaterally. Demonetisation one fine morning is of course just such a missile where there are reports coming in of hardships and suffering though it is not quite clear where the missile has landed,” he had said.
In 2016, he had said that while intolerance existed in the past, it had worsened under the BJP government led by PM Modi.