Mysuru elated as Gita Gopinath is IMF's chief economist

Mysuru elated as Gita Gopinath is IMF's chief economist

Her father T V Gopinath, an entrepreneur and farmer, is now vice-president of Mysuru-based Raitha Mitra Farmer Producer Company Limited

Mysureans are an elated lot as Gita Gopinath has been appointed the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Her father T V Gopinath, an entrepreneur and farmer, is now vice-president of Mysuru-based Raitha Mitra Farmer Producer Company Limited.

“What she is today, is because of her hard work, dedication and focus. She was born in Kolkata (1971) and we came to Mysuru in 1980. Gita was nine years old. Earlier, we were in New Delhi and Hyderabad. She studied at Nirmala Convent School up to SSLC and finished her PUC at Mahajana’s College, Mysuru,” Gopinath recalled.

Degree in Economics

“To facilitate her desire to take up UPSC exams, I admitted her to Lady Shri Ram College for Women in New Delhi. Gita obtained a BA (Honours) degree in Economics. She had studied science at the PUC level," Gopinath recounted.

Gita's elder sister Anita was studying at Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE). So, medicine was one option before Gita.

"But, I did not fancy medicine. I asked her to study economics and pursue IAS. The subject was new to her. Due to sheer hard work and dedication, she excelled in the subject and topped Delhi University in all three years of her undergraduate course. She obtained her master's from the Delhi School of Economics,” Gopinath said. 

PhD abroad

“Gita took the CAT exam and joined the University of Washington in Seattle (USA), for her PhD. She took CAT again and joined Princeton University after two years. Meanwhile, she married Iqbal Dhaliwal, a UPSC topper (1996 batch, Tamil Nadu cadre). He was her classmate at Delhi School of Economics.

When Gita wanted to return to India after her PhD degree, she was retained and Dhaliwal was offered a scholarship in Public Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Currently, Dhaliwal is Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They are blessed with a son Rohil, who is 15 years old,” Gopinath informed. 

“In school, she was good at sports and would practice running in the Oval Grounds. But, she stopped running after a while. Her reasoning was, that unless she was a topper in her chosen sport, she would not be recognised. So, she focused on studies instead. She was fond of cricket but did not watch the game on TV. She would take breaks while studying and ask us for cricket updates and go back to study. Nowadays, she likes editing articles for journals. She works 15 hours a day,” Gopinath remarked.

“My native place is Mayyil in Kannur district of Kerala. Since 1996, I am farming at Bilikere in Hunsur taluk. I started with Anthurium, but now, I am into horticulture. I was an advisor to the Kerala Agriculture minister for some time. Gita was also an advisor to the Kerala chief minister,” he said.

Teachers recall

Retired headmistress Victorine of Nirmala Convent said that Gita was a bright student and was active in co-curricular activities. “She was a topper in the seventh standard public exam,” she recalls.

Former vice chancellor of Davangere University S Indumathi said she knew Gita from childhood. “She is hard working. As chairperson of the Economics department in the University of Mysore (UoM), I invited her to deliver lectures. When I visited Princeton University, she was still a student, but her professors spoke of her proudly,” she recalled.

Former UoM vice-chancellor S N Hegde said that all Mysureans, Karnataka people and Indians should be proud of Gita.

Assistant professor Navitha Thimmaiah fondly recalls her interaction with Gita, when she delivered lectures at the UoM Economics Forum. “She has delivered lectures at the Mysuru-based Administrative Training Institute and also SDM-IMD,” she added.

Chairman of Raitha Mitra Farmer Producer Company Kurubur Shantha Kumar said Gopinath is striving for the welfare and financial empowerment of farmers at the age of 82. “Naturally, his daughter is an achiever,” he added.

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