Kolkata: Nobel laureate economist, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, backed the WB government’s decision to support the state’s Durga puja committees with Rs 50,000 each.
He said that organisers need the additional amount to adopt COVID-19 safety protocols.
CM Mamata Banerjee announced the ₹ 50,000 grant for each of the 36,946 Durga Puja committees in the state on September 24 which attracted controversies and was also challenged in the Calcutta High Court.
However, the economist who won the Nobel prize in 2019 supported her decision.
“It is not a bad decision keeping in mind the additional expenditure by puja committees to implement safety measures”, he claimed in an interview of ABP Ananda.
The state government told the court that the grant is for buying COVID-19 safety measures and for public-police bonding.
However, the high court ordered that all Durga Puja pandals across the state to be no-entry zones to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections.
Crowding of a large number of people visiting pandals and increase in COVID-19 cases in the state worried Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, so he urged people to be responsible for each other’s safety.
He hoped the normalcy of Indian economy may return in a years time overcoming the COVID-19 slowdown.
“The pandemic has impacted the economy badly and safety from the infection is also important. However, I think in a years time we will be able to recoup to a great extent helping an improved job market”, said Mr Banerjee to a query on job losses during the pandemic.
Mr Banerjee said he supports resumption of local train services as it has a better cross-ventilation system as compared to buses.