New Delhi: Economist Abhijit Sen, a former member of the Planning Commission and one of the country’s leading experts on rural economy, died on Monday night. He was 72 years old. He suffered a heart attack around 11 pm. “We immediately rushed him to the hospital, but by the time we got there, everything was over,” said Dr. Pranab Sen, Abhijeet’s brother.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Abhijit Sen was Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University and held several important government posts, including Chairman of the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission. Sen was born in a Bengali family in New Delhi. He went to Sardar Patel School and then St. Stephen’s College for an Honors degree in Physics. He completed his PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge in 1981 where he was a Fellow of Trinity Hall. He was a member of the Planning Commission from 2004 to 2014 when Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister.
In 2010, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for public service. When the NDA came to power in 2014, Sen was named to head a high-level task force to formulate a “long-term crop policy”. Sen was a strong supporter of the Public Distribution System (PDS) for wheat and rice. He said that the government exchequer has repeatedly increased food subsidy expenditure and the country has ample financial scope to afford both the public PDS and fair price of farmers’ produce.
Sen has been associated with various international research and multilateral organizations, including the OECD Development Centre, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Sen’s father, Samar Sen, worked as an economist at the World Bank. Sen is survived by his wife Jayati Ghosh, a prominent economist, and his daughter Janhvi.