Thinking of popular Indian economists, Chanakya (known as Kautilya) is a an unambiguous name that comes to mind. The well-known economist from 371 BC, also an advisor to the Maurya Emperor Chandragupta, was a professor of economics and political science at the University of Takshashila.

His popularity can be gauged from the popularity of his book “The Artha Shastra,” considered a benchmark even today. His book, besides being an economic doctrine, also serves as a political guide.

While Chanakya is one of the earliest economists India acknowledges, there are a few more that have followed in his footsteps.

Read more about the top economists of India those have, over the past few years, enhanced the economic stature of the country.

Dr. Manmohan Singh

Dr. Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India started his love affair with Economics in the year 1952 with a BA (honors) Economics degree. Later, he gained more qualifications in the field of economics including a DPhil from the University of Delhi.

With his exemplary economics skills and expertise, he established a concrete base for the country in the field of economics.

It is due to his efforts and expert guidance that India was able to overcome the economic crisis of 1991. In fact, the economic reforms of 1991 were the brainchild of Dr. Singh that helped the country to combat great financial trouble.

Even though he isn’t considered successful as the Prime Minister (debatable though), instances of his sterling performance as an economist are very well known.

Before his reign as the Prime Minister of India, he even served as the Director of IDBI, the Governor of RBI and the Finance Minister of India. It was down to his vision that India was saved from the hit of the recession period (2007-2009) that hit the world.

Dr. Amartya Kumar Sen

As a reverence to his work on famine solutions, welfare economics, political liberalism and human development theory, Dr. Amartya Kumar Sen has been popularly referred to as “the Conscience of the profession” and “the Mother Teresa of Economics.”

For his contribution towards Economic Sciences, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in the year 1998 and the Bharat Ratna in 1999.

The Economist has a BA, MA and PhD degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University and is the best known for his substantial solutions to tackle world poverty and famine, the issues he witnessed as a 9-year old boy.

He is also known for his comprehensive understanding of economics as depicted in his book Inequality Examined. Besides an engaging academic career, Dr. Sen has also been a part of political debates and managed to remain in the news.

Dr. Raghuram Rajan

The 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Dr. Rajan was previously the Chief Economic Advisor of the Ministry of Finance.

Between the years 2003 and 2006, Rajan succeeded in his role as the Chief Economist of International Monetary Fund. He is one of those few ‘famous economists of India’ who were able to predict the global economic collapse of 2008.

As the governor of Reserve Bank of India, Dr. Rajan has been recognized for bringing back the stability to the domestic currency and control the credit rates.

For outstanding work in the field of Economics, the London School of Business awarded him an honorary doctorate in the year 2012.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia

The Indian economist and civil servant has been the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India. Besides, he was the first Director of the Independent Evaluation Office at the International Monetary Fund.

Ahluwalia has held a number of positions with the government of India. He was:

  • a member of the Economic Advisory Council
  • the Finance Secretary at the Ministry of Finance,
  • the Secretary at the Department of Economic Affairs,
  • the Commerce Secretary
  • a Special Secretary to the Prime Minister
  • an Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance.

For his contribution in the field of economics, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in the year 2011.

Fun Fact: A Bundle of Re. 1 notes signed by Ahluwalia is on sale for a whopping Rs. 350000.

Bimal Jalan

Dr. Jalan has been touted as one of the most popular RBI governors. He was in office from 1997 to 2003 as the 20th Governor of RBI. The period is perceived as a period of economic turmoil for the country.

During his tenure as the governor of RBI, the Rs. 1,000 note was introduced which was a huge hype at that time.

He also authored several books on Economics like The Future of India, India’s Politics, Emerging India: Economics, Politics and Reforms, India’s Economy in the new millennial among several others.

Dr. Jalan was also the Chief Economic Advisor to the Indian government during the 80s and was later nominated as the Member of Parliament at the Rajya Sabha.

The contribution of these economists towards strengthening India’s economy has been significant and helpful. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that without these people, India’s economy wouldn’t be as strong as it is now. Kudos to their hard work!

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