Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Montek Singh Ahluwalia was born in Rawalpindi, now in Pakistan, in 1943. He studied at St. Patrick’s High School, Secunderabad and Delhi Public School, Mathura Road. He graduated with a B.A. (Hons) degree from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, University of Delhi. He was a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford where he studied at Magdalen College, as an undergraduate obtaining a BA in Philosophy Politics and Economics. Montek Singh Ahluwalia then joined St Antony’s College Oxford where he obtained an M.Phil. While at Oxford, he was the president of the prestigious Oxford Union. He has received several honorary degrees including an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the Oxford University and an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College. After graduating from University of Oxford, Ahluwalia joined the World Bank in 1968. At the age of 28, Montek Singh Ahluwalia became the youngest “Division Chief” in the World Bank’s bureaucracy, in charge of the Income Distribution Division in the World Bank’s Development Reaserch Centre. He returned to India in 1979 to take up the position of Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance. He held several senior positions as a civil servant including Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Commerce secretary, Secretary Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry and Finance Secretary. In 1998 he was appointed Member of the Planning Commission. In 2001, he was chosen by the Board of International Monetary Fund to be the first Director of the newly created Independent Evaluation Office, in which capacity he supervised several studies critical of various aspects of the functioning of the IMF. In June 2004, he resigned from the IMF position to take up his current position as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission as part of the United Progressive Alliance government in New Delhi. Montek Singh Ahluwalia has been a key figure in the Indian economic reform process. He has consistently pushed for economic reforms involving a shift from the earlier reliance on extensive government control over the economy with high levels of protection, to a much more open economy with a larger role for the private sector responding to market forces and greater openness to imports, foreign technology and direct foreign investment. He wrote an internal paper in 1990 proposing broad ranging economic reforms, which was leaked to the Press and was much discussed publically. As Commerce Secretary under Mr. P.Chidambaram as Commerce Minister, Montek Singh Ahluwalia played a major role in trade reforms which were introduced in July 1991. He was one of the small team, under Dr. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister, which guided and implemented reforms from 1991 to 1996. As Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission from 2004 onwards, he supervised the preparation of both the Eleventh Plan (2007-08 to 2011-12) titled “Towards Faster and More Inclusive Growth” and subsequently also the Twelfth Plan (2012-13 to 2016-17) titled “Faster, More Inclusive and Sustainable Growth”. The President of India awarded him the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour for public service. He has published a number of articles on various aspects of the Indian economy in academic journals. He is one of the authors of “Redistribution with Growth” by Chenery et al, published by Oxford University Press in 1974.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia has also written on various aspects of India’s economic reforms and on the inclusiveness of India’s growth process . Ahluwalia is married to fellow economist Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia and has two sons Pavan Ahluwalia and Aman Ahluwalia.

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