Noted economist Isher Judge Ahluwalia dies
Isher Judge Ahluwalia, 74, arguably India’s most famous female economist, who was till recently serving as the chairperson of the Delhi based think-tank ICRIER died on Saturday. She was suffering from brain cancer.
Ahluwalia is survived by her husband Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission and their two sons. Ahluwalia recently published her memoir “Breaking Through”, a testament of a career that broke many glass ceilings.
After starting her career at the International Monetary Fund, Ahluwalia returned to India where she authored two landmark books—Industrial Growth in India: Stagnation since the Mid-Sixties and Productivity and Growth in Indian Manufacturing. She was a professor at the Centre for Policy Research, and then director, and later chairperson, of ICRIER. Over the last decade and a half, she has built ICRIER into a leading global think tank.
Yamini Aiyar who is currently heading CPR tweeted: She was the first female scholar at CPR in the 1980s and paved the path for generations of us. Proud to be leading an institution that was once her home.
Ahluwalia has served as Chair of the Board of the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Chair of the High-Powered Committee on Urban Infrastructure Services set up by the Government of India in 2008. In later part of her life, she has written extensively on challenges relating to sustainable urbanization with special focus on delivery of clean drinking water and solid waste management.
She is a graduate of Presidency College and Delhi School of Economics, and received her PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr Ahluwalia is also a recipient of the Padma Bhushan.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram tweeted: “Deeply saddened and shaken by the passing away of Dr Isher Ahluwalia, a close friend for nearly 25 years. She was a distinguished economist whose life, work and contribution to economics are beautifully captured in her recently published autobiography, a must read for every student of economics.”
Former union minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said: “Isher Ahluwalia who just passed away, was one of India’s distinguished economists, a MIT PhD, and author of an influential book ‘Industrial Growth in India’. She built up ICRIER, a fine economic think tank. She had her own distinctive identity apart from being Montek‘s wife.”