Dear Abhijit babu,
On 8th May, 2020, I watched with interest your interview in Times Now. When Padmaja Joshi, the interviewer, referred to MP Swapan Dasgupta’s letter to the CM, West Bengal that no meetings of the Global Advisory Board were held in the month since its formation, you simply dismissed it, saying “that’s nonsense, how would he know“. Don’t you think it is normal for people of the state to be curious to know what this apex committee discussed, what were the suggestions made, especially when there was total silence except seeing repeated advertisements in all India channels?
Apart from your contemptuous dismissal your maintaining silence on the discussions in the ‘advisory board’ makes me wonder if few unsavory matters had come up, like the presence of two gentlemen in the Global Advisory Board, one held guilty for gross medical negligence by the Supreme Court of India and the other who had to plead guilty for sexual misconduct in a Court in New York.
Your reply to the next question “Since you are specifically looking into West Bengal……. is the State going to look at a bail out; what’s the long term plan?” You replied “I don’t know, this is beyond my remit”, which completely left us baffled, wondering what this Global Advisory Board is all about. Had you even said that this was under discussion, we are working out, we will come back, would have been reassuring.
We are very keen to know the views of this Board during your ‘meetings’ on the Rs 1.5 lakh crore package announced by the Chief Minister of West Bengal. We are sure such an important announcement of the CM was within the remit and discussed.
Sir, does the very name – Global Advisory Board for Covid Response Policy in West Bengal, with the chair being an economist of Nobel fame, not suggestive enough of the remit? I presume you have not been given the chair of this board to give advice on medicine.
You were very expansive when advising on what the country should be doing, in the 25 minute long interview. Your suggestion ranged from “offering people train, it is better than walking” to “we could do much better population based testing; policies need not be the same in red, orange and green zone”, but you didn’t say a word on West Bengal’s bailout package or long term plans, which I am sure every person in West Bengal was eager to hear from a Nobel Laureate in Economics who is now serving on Global Advisory Board for Covid19 West Bengal as its Chairman.
Abhijit babu, don’t you think we the people of West Bengal are entitled to know what was discussed, and the suggestions given by you and the plan of action that you have in mind.
Yours from West Bengal
(Shishir Bajoria is the Chairman, Board of Governors, IIM Shillong and the Chairman of SK Bajoria Group and one of the most vocal industrialist politician of West Bengal.)