news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | October 20, 2014 | 11.18 pm IST

Most people have heard of the famous Geneva Conventions that decide on the code of conduct during wartime, treatment of prisoners of war, etc.

Now it seems there is an Indian version of the Conventions – Delhi’s Geneva Conventions. It works like clockwork and rarely fails like many things Swiss. All top advisers to the government of India have spent time in in Geneva and Washington and many are Delhi University graduates. 

The route to this star-spangled convention is also pretty straight – Delhi University, IIM or Oxford, the Geneva-based GATT/WTO and /or the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also in Geneva, then on to Washington for a major stint either at the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a return to New Delhi in a major post as the country’s Chief Economic Advisor (CEA). A stint at a think tank in the United States also helps. 

The younger group is also called Kelkar’s Group after Vijay Kelkar who has advised several governments including India on economic matters, worked at UNCTAD and the Bank to enthuse new thinking and vision into India’s moribund economy. 

Manmohan Singh’s graph is no different though his contribution to the Indian economy is less stellar. He went from Delhi to Geneva (as head of the South Commission), Washington or vice-versa, before returning to India as the Vice-Chancellor of the Delhi University and finally Prime Minister of the UPA for two terms where he proved what BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had called him an overrated economist and an underrated politician.

Former Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Raghuram Rajan is now the Governor of the Reserve bank of India and the other CEA, the very erudite Kaushik Basu is now with the IMF. The country’s new CEA Arvind Subramanian has also travelled the same Delhi, Geneva, Washington route to return to Delhi. Here’s wishing him luck and hoping he brings new thinking and new perspectives to an economy badly in need of a jump-start and a world that looks different from Washington, New York and Geneva.

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