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  • Writer's pictureTarun Das

NRI Economists: The Flood of Advice Continues

“Fiscal stimulus equivalent to 5% of GDP”.

“Stimulus of Rs 65000 crores”.

“Major Fiscal Stimulus essential”.

“Put money in the hands of the Poor”.

These, and other advisories, are prominent in the Indian media. These remind one of the late Prof CK Prahalad who one had the privilege to work with for over 2 decades.

CK, as he was known to all, always prepared a data-based analytical Paper, arguing his case forcefully. His work was always research based and he made numerous presentations, usually taking 40-45 minutes to make his case, convincingly.

Another name which comes to mind is Dr Jayanta Roy, one of the most knowledgeable on Trade Policy. His articles and papers are always well-researched and well-argued which is why his views, based on data, are respected.

Prof CK Prahalad was widely known for some outstanding books and concepts such as the Bottom of the Pyramid.

Those days are clearly a thing of the past. The current trend is to present the headline solution without the research data to back it up. How does one come to Rs 65000 crores? How does one reach the figure of 5% of GDP? (Just to take 2 examples).

We are talking of experienced, senior, renowned economists and it would be extremely helpful if they could release short (or long) Papers which gave the back-up data, the analysis and their final conclusion. This approach would be both helpful and convincing for policy makers to take forward.

Many have commented on my last blog. Some have said that the views of these well-regarded Economists are most welcome and worth hearing. Of course, this is so. Sound bytes from these famous people are always welcome. But, perhaps, a thought-out Paper would be even more so??

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Could not agree more here. Fact-based and data-driven conclusions by economists and policy influencers are being sacrificed by a few at the altar of loud noise and the booming megaphones of social media. However, for every such economist there are two who are offering bottom-up, data-modelled suggestions. And this trend cuts across regions - there are as many India-based ones that are jumping to "6% of GDP" recommendations as those living and working outside India.

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