Economist Kakkadan Nandanath Raj, who made a significant contribution to the preparation of India’s first Five Year Plan (1951-56) and set the nation on the path of a planned economy, died here on Wednesday. He was 85.
Raj had been under treatment for age-related health problems. He is survived by two sons.
An alumnus of London School of Economics, Raj served as economic adviser to Prime Ministers from Jawaharlal Nehru to P.V. Narasimha Rao. He contributed to the preparation of the first Five Year Plan when he was just 26 years old as an expert member in the Planning Commission.
“Raj was an outstanding economist,” said C. Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and former governor of the Reserve Bank of India. “His contribution in the area of developmental economics will always be remembered.”
A distinguished academician, Raj headed the economics department of Delhi University and served as its vice-chancellor from October 1969 to December 1970.
He was instrumental in setting up the Delhi School of Economics. “He contributed to the reputation that the Delhi School of Economics enjoys today,” said Suresh Tendulkar, a former chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and the National Statistical Commission. “In the 1960s, he was instrumental in bringing in economists like Sukhamoy Chakravarty, Amartya Sen and Jagdish Bhagwati to DSE.”
In the 1970s, Raj returned to his home state Kerala and founded the Centre for Development Studies, an institution for applied economics and social science research whose early work gave shape to what later came to be known as the Kerala model of development, marked by high social sector spending that produced human development indices envied by other states.
Author of several works, he delivered lectures in leading universities in India and abroad. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2000.