The Tamil Nadu government on Monday named Nobel laureate Esther Duflo and former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan as part of a five-member Economic Advisory Council for the state, The Hindu reported. The other members in the council are former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, development economist Jean Drèze and former Union Finance Secretary S Narayan.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit announced the council while addressing the state Assembly at its first sitting since the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led government assumed power.

“Based on the recommendation of the council, the government will revitalise the state’s economy and ensure that benefits of economic growth reach all segments of society,” the government said, according to The News Minute.

Purohit also announced the government’s decision to introduce a separate annual budget for agriculture with the objective of increasing productivity and protecting farmers’ welfare. He added that the state government would release a white paper in July detailing the situation of Tamil Nadu’s finances. This will be the first step towards bringing down the overall debt burden and improving the fiscal position, the governor said.

Duflo, along with her Indian-American partner Abhijit Banerjee and their colleague Michael Kremer, had received the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics. They were conferred the award “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.

Rajan headed the Reserve Bank of Indian from 2013 to 2016. Prior to that, Rajan had served as the country’s chief economic adviser. Subramanian, who succeeded Rajan to the office of the chief economic adviser, quit the post in 2018, four months before his tenure was supposed to end.

Drèze is one of the architects of the rural jobs programme or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), and a visiting professor at Ranchi University. He has taught at the London School of Economics and the Delhi School of Economics. With Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, he has co-authored ‘Hunger and Public Action’ and ‘An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions’.

Narayan is an Indian Administrative Services officer of the 1965 batch. He was formerly the Union finance secretary and held the post of the economic adviser to the prime minister in 2003-’04.