Tribute to Abhijit Sen, one of India’s foremost experts on the rural economy – The New Indian Express

Express press service

NEW DELHI: The wireless microphone firmly held in his right hand, his left arm jerked at every emphatic point he made to a group of students and professors in one of the halls of Jawaharlal Nehru University. His long gray beard hid his smile whenever he provided solid logic to prove how disastrous the government’s demonetization decision was. His long, puffy kurta moved with the small steps he took back and forth as his audience stood in a large semi-circle. That impromptu gathering at JNU just over five years ago took place against the backdrop of the continuing aftershocks of demonetization.

As a scholar of economics, Prof. Abhijit Sen’s trademark was to teach smoothly. It was not so much her vocal strength as her reasoning and logic that impacted her students and admirers. He brought the same qualities to the Planning Commission which he joined in 2004 to formulate incisive policies and champion a universal public distribution system (PDS).

In addition to his two terms on the Planning Commission, which was the main political organization at the time, Professor Sen was internationally recognized as a leading expert on rural economics. So when he died late in the night of August 29 at the age of 72he left a void in his area of ​​specialization as well as in the wider community of left-liberal economists.

Professor Sen is survived by his wife, economist Jayati Ghosh, and his daughter, Jahnavi Sen, who is a journalist.

Sen was born in Jamshedpur on November 18, 1950. When his parents – his father Samar Sen was an economist at the World Bank – moved with him to Delhi, Sen was enrolled in Sardar Patel Vidyalaya before pursuing physics as his chosen subject. at St Stephen’s College. He then turned to economics, obtaining a doctorate from the University of Cambridge where his thesis was on “Agrarian constraint to economic development: the case of India”. He completed the doctoral program under the supervision of Professor Suzy Paine.

Continuing his university studies, Professor Sen’s teaching career took him to the universities of Sussex, Oxford, Cambridge and Essex. In 1985 he moved to teach at JNU Center for Economic Studies and Planning where he met and worked closely with other economists such as Krishna Bharadwaj, Prabhat Pattnaik, CP Chandreshekhar, Amit Bhaduri and Jayati Ghosh whom he later married. This circle of economists propelled the department of JNU to great heights, making it a leading center for the study of development economics and the Indian economy.

His formidable reputation as an economist led him to play a crucial role, from the end of the 1990s, in the formulation of policies. The then United Front regime appointed him to head the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), whose objective was to recommend minimum support prices for several agricultural products, in 1997.

In 2000, the NDA government led by AB Vajpayee appointed him to head the high-level expert committee on long-term grain policy, which then recommended the introduction of a universal PDS for rice and wheat for all consumers and the CACP to be elevated as an empowered and statutory body.

During his time in the Planning Commission, Prof. Sen focused on, among other things, universal PDS and remunerative prices for farmers which were out of step with the policies of the Manmohan Singh government. He also helped solve the commodity futures trading problem in India. The UPA government honored him with Padma Bhushan in 2010.

Besides the government of the day, Professor Sen was called upon to work for the UNDP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Asian Development Bank.

NEW DELHI: The wireless microphone firmly held in his right hand, his left arm jerked at every emphatic point he made to a group of students and professors in one of the halls of Jawaharlal Nehru University. His long gray beard hid his smile whenever he provided solid logic to prove how disastrous the government’s demonetization decision was. His long, puffy kurta moved with the small steps he took back and forth as his audience stood in a large semi-circle. That impromptu gathering at JNU just over five years ago took place against the backdrop of the continuing aftershocks of demonetization. As a scholar of economics, Prof. Abhijit Sen’s trademark was to teach smoothly. It was not so much her vocal strength as her reasoning and logic that impacted her students and admirers. He brought the same qualities to the Planning Commission which he joined in 2004 to formulate incisive policies and champion a universal public distribution system (PDS). In addition to his two terms on the Planning Commission, which was the main political organization at the time, Professor Sen was internationally recognized as a leading expert on rural economics. So when he died late that night on August 29 at the age of 72, he left a void in his area of ​​specialization as well as in the wider community of left-liberal economists. Professor Sen is survived by his wife, economist Jayati Ghosh, and his daughter, Jahnavi Sen, who is a journalist. Sen was born in Jamshedpur on November 18, 1950. When his parents – his father Samar Sen was an economist at the World Bank – moved with him to Delhi, Sen was enrolled in Sardar Patel Vidyalaya before pursuing physics as his chosen subject. at St Stephen’s College. He then turned to economics, obtaining a doctorate from the University of Cambridge where his thesis was on “Agrarian constraint to economic development: the case of India”. He completed the doctoral program under the supervision of Professor Suzy Paine. Continuing his university studies, Professor Sen’s teaching career took him to the universities of Sussex, Oxford, Cambridge and Essex. In 1985 he moved to teach at JNU Center for Economic Studies and Planning where he met and worked closely with other economists such as Krishna Bharadwaj, Prabhat Pattnaik, CP Chandreshekhar, Amit Bhaduri and Jayati Ghosh whom he later married. This circle of economists propelled the JNU department to great heights, making it a leading center for the study of development economics and the Indian economy. His formidable reputation as an economist led him to play a crucial role, from the end of the 1990s, in the formulation of policies. The then United Front regime appointed him to head the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), whose objective was to recommend minimum support prices for several agricultural products, in 1997. In 2000, the NDA government led by AB Vajpayee appointed him to head the high-level expert committee on long-term grain policy, which then recommended the introduction of a universal PDS for rice and wheat for all consumers and the elevation of the CACP as an empowered and statutory body. During his time at the Planning Commission, Professor Sen focused on, among other things, universal PDS and remunerative prices for farmers which were out of step with the policies of the Manmohan Singh government. He also helped solve the commodity futures trading problem in India. He was awarded Padma Bhushan by the PAU government in 2010. Apart from the then government, Professor Sen was called upon to work for UNDP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and Asian Development Bank.

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