|Lucknow, March 1: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lashed out at "scholars from Harvard" for questioning his demonetisation drive and said "hard work" had prevailed, repeating a line he had used in the 2014 election campaign.|
"Harvard se zyada dum hota hai hard work mein," the Prime Minister told a rally in Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh. "Hard work is more effective than Harvard."
India is among the fastest growing economies in the world, Modi said: "GDP data, released yesterday, prove that the (November 8) note ban didn't have any adverse effect on our economy."
Yesterday's Central Statistics Office report estimated the real GDP growth in the third quarter of 2016-17 at 7 per cent, slightly lower than the 7.4 per cent in the second quarter but higher than the 6.9 per cent growth in the third quarter of 2015-16.
"Big scholars of Harvard and Oxford, who have been playing a crucial role in the country's (India's) economic system... big economists... one was saying that the GDP would fall by 2 per cent, the other said it would slide by 4 per cent," Modi said.
While Modi did not take any names, the original target of his "Harvard vs hard work" jibe - former finance minister P. Chidambaram, who studied at Harvard - seemed to be in the line of fire again. As did former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who went to Cambridge and Oxford. Both have been critical of demonetisation .
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, a Harvard professor who has also taught at Oxford, had described the note ban as "Modi's Napoleon moment" and "a despotic action that has struck at the root of economy based on trust".
Former US treasury secretary Larry Summers, now President Emeritus at Harvard, had said: "We strongly suspect that those with the largest amount of ill-gotten gain do not hold their wealth in cash but instead have long since converted it into foreign exchange, gold, bitcoin or some other store of value. So it is petty fortunes, not the hugest and most problematic ones, that are being targeted."
Modi said: "My critics said they were not able to understand why I took this decision when the country was prepared to take an economic jump. Now they are saying for the last three months that there is joblessness, farmers are destroyed... industries are closing... the country is lagging behind...." The latest report has exposed them, he said.