Bengaluru: Economist Gita Gopinath on Tuesday said as economic advisor to the Kerala chief minister, she will merely provide advice and will not get involved in policy decisions.
The appointment of Gopinath, a Harvard professor believed to hold views diametrically opposite to that of the Left front ruling the state, had sparked a controversy.
In an emailed statement in reply to a Mint query, the Harvard economist said she will neither engage on a daily basis with the Kerala government, nor get involved in all its policy decisions, or move to Kerala leaving her research and teaching job.
She said her mandate as discussed with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is two-fold— first to respond to any requests from him for advice on Kerala’s economy and second to connect state departments to global knowledge leaders in sectors like public finance, management, entrepreneurship, labour and development economics.
Most of this will be done remotely, rather than in person and “it is then up to the CM to consider my advice, and up to the relevant departments to continue conversations with the various sector experts," she said.
Gopinath is considered to advocate so-called neo-liberal economics while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that leads the Kerala government vociferously opposes such policies nationally.
Neither is the Left in Kerala impressed by Gopinath’s earlier association with the US government, World Economic Forum and International Monitory Fund—institutions not known for their support to socialist programmes, Mint reported on Monday.
Taking note of the issue, the central leadership of the CPM has sought an explanation from the state unit of the party, The Indian Express reported on Monday.
In her statement, Gopinath also pointed to her family roots in the state. “Kerala is my native state as my father is from Mayyil and my mother from Kuttiattoor in Kannur district, so I am humbled by the opportunity to contribute my skills and effort to the development of Kerala," she said.
Gopinath added that she would not be frequently interacting with the media to explain the government’s policies or giving her opinions on the same.