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Amartya Sen lashes out at Modi government, accuses it of ‘extraordinarily large interference’ in academic institutions

New Delhi(dna): Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen has lashed out at Modi government accusing it of very large interference to control academic institutions. Sen, in a 4000 word essay to be published in August issue of New York Review of books has particularly given candid opinion about his ‘ouster’ from Nalanda University and how according to him, the government is trying to control various institutes of repute.

Amartya Sen in an interview to an English daily has spoken out on multiple issues. He has rued at the poor health of the economy and also expressed concern at cuts in health and education budget.

Regarding his removal from Nalanda, Sen said that some members of the board wanted him to carry on, but he stepped aside fearing government may cut funds and he didn’t want to be an ineffective leader. But according to Sen, it is not an isolated incident and government has tried to impose its will in several educational institutes. In the interview, Sen cited instances of educational institutes like TIFR, NBT, ICHR- where the government allegedly put academicians perceived closer to them, replacing more worthy individuals.

Sen also mentioned about the fiasco in both IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay. In IIT Delhi, Director Raghunath Shevgaonkar resigned whereas in IIT Bombay board chairman Anil Kakodkar refused to help government in the future. Sen was also critical of the draft IIM bill, which he says gives direct control to the government instead of effective power.

Sen also was pointed in his criticism saying merely HRD Ministry shouldn’t be blamed for the entire ‘interference’ in academic institutions and the whole government is to be blamed.

The noted economist was also scathing in his opinion about the state of economy under Narendra Modi. Taking a critical view of cut of budget in healthcare, he said that financing public services is a key component to growth, a trick India is missing. Comparing India to China, Sen said that only trying to emulate high growth rate of China is problematic. He said that market economy needs successful public services.

Sen slammed the Land Acquisition bill proposed by the government branding it ‘completely wrong’. This fresh salvo from Sen is likely to provide fresh ammunition to opposition parties and critic of Modi government who are already targeting the ruling dispensation on multiple fronts.