Prof Yoginder K Alagh, renowned economist, academic and a former Union minister, has passed away. He was emeritus professor at Ahmedabad-based Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research (SPIESR). Born in Chakwal, in present-day Pakistan, in 1939, Alagh studied at the University of Rajasthan and later got a doctorate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, USA.
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About the Prof Yoginder K Alagh:
- Alagh probably represented the last of a tribe of economists who straddled the world of academia and policymaking with felicity, and who, unlike most, did not confine his interest to one particular sector of the economy. During the 1980s, he headed the Agricultural Prices Commission (APC) as well the Bureau of Industrial Costs & Prices (BICP).
- As chairman of APC (now called the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Price), he set up its econometrics cell, which recommends minimum support prices for different crops and also published its reports with a view to encourage debate. At BICP, he initiated the first round of economic reforms that involved price decontrol in steel, cement and aluminium.
- Before that, he chaired a Planning Commission Task Force in 1979, which for the first time constructed separate poverty lines for rural and urban areas based on nutritional requirements — consuming less than 2,400 calories and 2,100 calories, respectively.
- Alagh was executive vice-chairman of the Gujarat government’s Narmada Planning Group for the Sardar Sarovar multipurpose dam project in 1980-82, and a member of the Planning Commission between 1987 and 1990. It culminated in his becoming a Union Minister of State with independent charge of Power, Science & Technology and Planning & Programme Implementation during the United Front government in 1996-98.