Indian-American Abhijit Banerjee, who recently won the Nobel in Economics along with his French-American wife Esther Duflo and Harvard University professor Michael Kremer, said Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, who called him "totally Left-leaning", is "questioning his professionalism" by making such a comment.
Goyal on Friday dubbed Banerjee as "Left-leaning", and said as his suggestion of basic income scheme was rejected by Indian voters, there was no need to "accept what he thinks".
Couple Banerjee and Duflo jointly won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize with Harvard's Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".
Banerjee been critical of the Narendra Modi government's economic policies. He had endorsed Nyay, the minimum basic income scheme promised by the Congress during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"I congratulate Abhijit Banerjee for winning the Nobel prize. You all know that his thinking is totally Left- leaning," Goyal had said at a media briefing.
"Banerjee supported 'Nyay' and people of India rejected his ideology," Goyal said.
He added that it was a matter of pride that an Indian won the Nobel prize.
"But it is not necessary to agree with what he says and especially when the people of this country rejected his suggestion, there is no need to accept what he thinks," the Union minister said.
Asked whether he thought Banerjee's views on the state of Indian Economy were biased, Goyal said the reporter should pose this question to Banerjee himself.
Banerjee had recently said that Indian economy was on shaky ground, adding the data currently available does not hold any assurance for economic revival anytime soon.
"If the BJP government, like the Congress party, had asked what were the numbers on the fraction of people under a particular income, would I have not told them the truth? I would have told them exactly, I would have been as willing. In terms of being a professional, I want to be professional with everyone," Banerjee told news channel NDTV.
"I am not partisan in my economic thinking," he added.
"We work with any number of state governments, many of which are BJP governments. We worked with the Gujarat pollution board when Gujarat was under Mr (Narendra) Modi and we actually had an excellent experience. I would say that they were willing to engage with the evidence and they implemented policies that followed with that experience," the channel quoted him as saying.
(With PTI inputs)