Leaders must step up efforts to preserve India’s global image, says former CEA Kaushik Basu

Social, political strife disturbing, says former CEA Basu

The spate of lynchings and other disturbing incidents in the country are hurting India’s global image, hence corporate and political leaders must work collectively to undo the damage, former CEA and ex-World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu said on Monday.

“In economic policy, you make one mistake and do one thing correct and things get corrected. The social, political strife troubles me.

“This is a time where the news that you get is hurting India’s global image — the lynchings, the narrow-mindedness… we have to work collectively and the elites across the board and I am not just talking about corporate elites, even political elites have a responsibility.”

To a query on whether such lynchings would impact growth or capital inflows, Dr. Basu said, “India may continue to grow and have access to pools of capital and possible economic growth can happen with that. After all, America did grow extremely well during the period of slavery. So, it is possible that these things can go together.”

“I would take an independent position and say that slavery is a dismal thing even if it happens to come with economic growth. Likewise, sectarianism and casteism are dreadful things. Even if they don’t impact growth negatively, we should fight against that,” he said, while delivering the JSW Literature Live Independence lecture.

Rupee level

“Our exchange rates have tended to appreciate in the past couple of years, because India’s inflating faster than industrialised countries; barring the correction over the past few months, the rupee has been appreciating. My hunch is the right kind of level is ₹70-71 to a dollar. These things have to be done very carefully.”

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