Why Amartya Sen Is Not Impressed With Modi’s 10% Quota Bill

“Muddled thinking” of 10% reservation for the general category will have serious implications, says Amartya Sen.

File photo of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. (Photo: PTI)
File photo of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. (Photo: PTI)

Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen on Wednesday described the 10 percent reservation for economically backward people in the general category as “muddled thinking” that raises serious question about its political and economic impact.

“The reservation for the low income upper caste is a different problem,” Sen told PTI in an interview. “If the whole of the population is covered by reservation then that would be removal of reservation.”

Ultimately this is a muddled thinking. But the muddled thinking may have serious political and economic effect which are seriously questionable.
Amartya Sen, Economist

The Nobel laureate said that the Modi government was successful in maintaining the economic growth India achieved before they came to power.

He also said the Modi government sustained high economic growth achieved during the previous UPA regime, but that has not translated into better quality of living for the people. “Modi can say ‘yes we have continued that’. There has not been a big reduction in the economic growth of India,” he said. The benefits of economic growth in terms of employment, inequality reduction, poverty elimination, better healthcare and education cannot be seen on the ground despite the economic growth, he added.

The economist was also critical of demonetisation and the way Good and Services Tax was implemented. “We don't have to bring in the electoral success and failure in order to be able to say that demonetisation was a pretty negative and pretty bad economic policy and the way the GST has been imposed was also very defective,” Sen said.

Asked if these two led to the BJP’s defeat in the recently-held Assembly elections in five states, he said that requires an electoral study which he had not done.

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