Friday, January 08, 2010

Prof. Kaushik Basu on his new job

Prof. Basu joined the Indian government recently as its Chief Economic Adviser. At BBC, he tells us what it has been like:

The first week was harrowing.

My in-tray reached for the ceiling till someone pointed out that on my right was an out-tray.

Questions concerning the economy came at rapid fire from parliament and from policy-makers.

I was asked, for example, if allowing futures trading in food created inflationary pressure on the spot market price of food.

This is the kind of question on which I would love to spend some months thinking and reading and then write a paper. Here I had 24 hours to respond.

For all the bewilderment of the first week, there was one pleasant surprise.

I did not expect the level of professionalism and commitment to work that I encountered in my ministry.

It is entirely possible that this is a recent phenomenon and special to Delhi, but the level of individual industry that I have seen in my first weeks is entirely on a par with or even higher than the best private sector firms.

Thanks to Krish for the Twitter-alert.