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In a strong refute to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s warnings to the Indian Government last week, Bhagwati said “Objections by populists like Stiglitz need to be refuted, not by ministers, but by economists who can effectively expose their rubbish in economic argumentation.”
Bhagwati was making the observations in an interview to an Indian magazine, Tehelka.
He lauded India’s reforms drive (Track 1 reforms, as he categorised it) which he claims had removed the counterproductive policies that had undermined India’s growth. “This acceleration in growth has reduced poverty and produced improvements in the welfare of the marginalised groups.”
He strongly supported the Indian Prime Minister’s decision to allow FDI (foreign direct investment) in retail.
“Retail sector liberalisation is extremely important and promises the greatest reward for the least political disruption, since there is no evidence that small retailers will be hurt.
“The government is right to dismiss the witless admonitions against it by Joseph Stiglitz, whose track record on policy advice is dismal everywhere.”
Bhagwati also batted for trade liberalisation saying, “Trade liberalisation offers scope for further gains. Our industrial tariffs have come down hugely since 1991, and slowly enough not to cause any disruptions.”
Professor Bhagwati is an Indian-American economist of repute.
He is a professor of economics and Law at Columbia University.
The BRICS Post