Noted economist Isher Judge Ahluwalia no more, tributes pour in

Prominent economist and Padma Bhushan recipient Isher Judge Ahluwalia died

New Delhi,(Samajweekly) Prominent economist and Padma Bhushan recipient Isher Judge Ahluwalia died on Saturday after a battle with brain cancer.

On the loss of the distinguished economist, tributes poured in from institutions and several noted personalities from across walks of life.

Aged 74, Ahluwalia was till recently serving as the chairperson of the Delhi based think-tank Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

Last month, she stepped down as chairperson of ICRIER due to her declining health after a 15-year stint.

Ahluwalia is survived by her husband, former deputy chairperson of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and two sons.

In a statement, ICRIER said: “The ICRIER family is profoundly saddened at the passing away of Chairperson Emeritus Isher Judge Ahluwalia this morning.

ICRIER director and chief executive Rajat Kathuria said, “I can say without an iota of doubt that ICRIER was in her DNA.”

Awarded the third highest civilian award in India, Padma Bhushan, in 2009 for her services in the field of education and literature, two of her books are often acclaimed as major contributions to literature, ‘Industrial Growth in India: Stagnation Since the Mid-Sixties ‘(1989, Oxford University Press) and ‘Productivity and Growth in Indian Manufacturing’ (1991, Oxford University Press).

Other books written by her include ‘Transforming Our Cities: Facing Up To India’s Growing Challenge’ and ‘Policy reform in India’.

About a decade ago, her interest in issues of urban economics and governance was ignited when she became Chairperson of the High Powered Expert Committee on Urban Infrastructure and Services during 2008-11.

Subsequently, Isher made the urbanisation field her own and went on to publish two books on the subject.

Tributes also poured in from political, bureaucratic and business personalities for the acclaimed economist.

In a tweet, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh described her as one of India’s most distinguished economists.

“Saddened to learn of passing away of Isher Judge Ahluwalia. She was one of India’s most distinguished economists & we had privilege of having her as Vice-Chairman of State Planning Board in my last term. Heartfelt condolences to Montek ji & their family in this hour of grief,” he said.

Calling Ahluwalia a “dear friend”, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the Executive Chairperson of biopharmaceutical major Biocon Limited noted that she was a “brilliant remarkable intellectual economist”.

“Isher Ahluwalia, my dear dear friend and a brilliant remarkable intellectual economist passed away after a brave battle with cancer. My deepest condolences to Montek Singh Ahluwalia n his sons Pavan & Aman n the family. She will be hugely missed RIP,” she said in a tweet.

Describing Ahluwalia’s life as an inspiration, former Foreign Secretary of India Nirupama Menon Rao tweeted: “Deeply grieved by the passing of a dear friend of many years, the brilliant #IsherAhluwalia after a brave battle with cancer. Isher, I shall miss your presence so much. Your life story is an inspiration to all women who dare to dream of a better world. RIP, dear friend.”