Home / News / India /  Economist Abhijit Sen, advocate of public distribution system, is no more

Economist Abhijit Sen passed away on August 29 night. He was 72. Sen, one of India’s leading authorities on rural economy and a former member of the Planning Commission, taught economics at universities in Oxford, Cambridge, and New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University over the course of a career spanning more than four decades. Additionally, he served in a variety of important government roles, notably as chair of the Commission on Agricultural Cost and Prices.

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"He suffered a heart attack around 11 PM. We rushed him to the hospital, but it was all over by the time we got there," said his brother Dr Pronab Sen.

Between 2004 to 2014, when Manmohan Singh served as prime minister, Sen was a member of the Planning Commission. He received the Padma Bhusan for public service in 2010. Sen was named to lead a high-level task team to develop a "long term grain policy" when the NDA came to power in 2014. Sen was a strong supporter of the public distribution system (PDS) of wheat and rice.

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He would contend that the cost of food subsidies to the exchequer was frequently overstated and that the nation had enough financial leeway to afford both a universal PDS and a fair price for farmers' produce.

Sen had ties to numerous international research and multilateral institutions, including the OECD Development Centre, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and International Fund for Agricultural Development.

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Sen, whose father Samar Sen worked as an economist for the World Bank, first majored in physics at New Delhi's St. Stephen's College before going to Cambridge University to seek a doctorate in economics.

According to his brother Pronab, Sen had been experiencing breathing-related problems for the previous years, which became worse during the COVID-19 epidemic. He leaves behind his wife Jayati Ghosh, a prominent economist, and their daughter Jahnavi.

(With PTI inputs)

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