Accentuating the significance of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in his life, co-recipient of this year's economics Nobel, Abhijeet Banerjee on Monday said that the Varsity has played a substantial role in his life.
"JNU was extraordinarily important for me. In Presidency College, most of the students were upper-caste Bengali but at JNU I encountered India. There is caste, poverty and it was not in the world I had lived in. So, JNU taught me what India was all about," Abhijit Banerjee said at an event here.
Abhijit Banerjee also spoke in favour of utilising direct taxes for funding welfare schemes as compared to the indirect taxes.
Nobel Prize winner also said that he "liked" the idea of Ayushmann Bharat scheme that aims to help economically vulnerable Indians who are in need of healthcare facilities.
"When people end up paying a lot for health care, they are forced to sell off their assets," he added. He, however, also cautioned about the potential of fraud in the scheme and said that the same needs to be fixed.
Abhijit Banerjee said that during 1983 students protest at JNU, he was jailed for 10 days at the Tihar Jail. Describing the series of events that landed him to the Tihar Jail, he said that the students 'gheraoed' the then Vice Chancellor's house. The protest was against the expulsion of the student union president and other students, he added.
"We were beaten (I was) and thrown into Tihar jail, charged not quite with sedition, but attempt to murder and the rest. The charges were eventually dropped thank God but not before we spent 10 days or so in Tihar," he said in the article. He also added: "What it undoubtedly was is an attempt by the State to establish the lines of authority. We are the boss they were telling us, shut up and behave." He had also alleged in his article that police action was backed by the then Congress government.
Abhijit Banerjee, along with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer on Monday won Nobel Prize in Economics, for their work to eradicate global poverty. Banerjee who is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor spoke at the University after winning the award. He said that the award is for the entire movement and he hopes that it will send a message of policy based on evidence and hard thinking. Banerjee has pursued his education at the University of Calcutta, Jawarharlal Nehru University, and acquired his Ph.D. in 1988 from Harvard University.
(With ANI inputs)