BJP Minister wants Cong to learn lessons from Banerjee

Abhijit Banerjee

Indian-origin Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee on Tuesday was caught in a political exchange between the Congress and the BJP.

Nilesh Cabral, a power Minister in the BJP-led coalition cabinet, promised to gift a book authored by Banerjee to state Congress president Girish Chodankar, so that the latter could learn some basics about the concept of expenditure on "social capital". 

A day after Chodankar accused the BJP-led coalition government of borrowing loans from the market to fund populist social welfare schemes, Cabral on Tuesday taunted Chodankar by urging him to read Banerjee and learn the philosophy of social capital.

"I am going to present him a book written by our Indian Nobel laureate, where he has said, that expenditure on social schemes should be called expenditure on social capital. The schemes which are being given to people is for people to spend in the market, which also gives a boost to the economy," Cabral told reporters in Panaji.

Cabral's comments come at a time when top BJP leaders, including Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal, have criticised Banerjee's ideological leaning.

Cabral also said that Parrikar's expenditure on social capital, like the launch of social welfare schemes for people affected by the mining ban in Goa, may have prevented a spate of suicides in Goa's mining belt, where a large chunk of the population depends on mining for sustenance.

"When Manohar Parrikar was CM and mining shut down, he started so many social schemes. This is not capital expenditure. He was providing was social security. It was because of those schemes, we did not have problems of suicide in the mining sector. See what is happening to farmers in neighbouring states. There was no support the way it was given (in Goa). Social security schemes... Nobel prize winner Abhijit Banerjee has said that social security schemes can be called social capital. It is a new definition," Cabral said.

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