Economist, former Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen passes away

Abhijit Sen, one of India’s brightest economists who taught as Jawaharlal Nehru University and served in various policy making institutions including the Planning Commission passed away after a heart attack on the night of August 28.

Sen studied Physics at St Stephens College Delhi before doing a PhD in Economics from University of Cambridge. His thesis was called “The agrarian constraint to economic development: the case of India”. Very few economists in India had the kind of original insights which Sen had about Indian agriculture.

He joined the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University as a teacher and introduced a generation of students to the subject.

Sen was as a much a policy maker as a teacher with important stints in various policy making bodies including the Chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, Member of Planning Commission and the 14th Finance Commission.

In addition to his important contributions to India’s economic policy, Sen is also known for his seminal work in poverty and inequality in post-reform India, which he authored with his student (who now teaches economics at JNU) Himanshu.

Sen is survived by his wife Jayati Ghosh and daughter Jhanvi.