Thursday, April 14, 2011


Dr. Amartya Kumar Sen is the first Indian as well as the first Asian to have won the Nobel Prize for Economics for the year 1998. Professor Sen is not only the first Indian to win a Nobel honour in Economics but has also succeeded in bringing “the poverty — stricken developing countries to the centre -stage of the world’s attention and brought to the fore the importance of normative economics by establishing a direct correlation between the welfare economics and economic development”. The work of Dr. Sen in the field of welfare economics has helped in understanding the economic dynamism underlying famines and poverty in the developing countries. In the citation for the prestigious award, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences took into consideration Dr. Sen’s contribution on famines and concluded that he has improved significantly the theoretical foundation for carrying out a comparison of different distributions to the welfare of the society.

Prof. A.K. Sen was born in 1933 in India. After finishing his brilliant educational career, he took to teaching of economics. He served as Professor of Economics in the Delhi School of Economics of Delhi University for quite some time. He is the first Indian to be the President of American Economics Association (A.E.A.) in 1994. He has the rare distinction of being the only person to have been President of A.E.A. , International Economic Association and Indian Economic Association. He was made Master at Trinity College,

Cambridge and was the first Indian to be appointed head of a college at Oxford or Cambridge Universities. He is the first Indian and Asian to win the Nobel Prize for Economics for 1998. He is Indian economist Member of World Bank Advisory Board . He has researched into the behavioural foundations of economic theory and developmental economics. He has been awarded India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna in January, 1999.

Award of Nobel Prize to Professor Sen is very significant as it has also resulted in a shift in obsession from financial sector issues to the real sector issues. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has also departed from the usual trend where the awards in economics were given to the works with a strong right-winged ideological bias and emphasis on neo-classical methodology. It is very gratifying that Dr. Sen’s work on poverty alleviation has been given recognition, which is very relevant in the present-day Context.

Dr. Sen’s off beat work shows great concern for poverty alleviation. Its choice of techniques represents the dilemma faced by many developing countries. The dilemma is to go in for capital intensive techniques of production or for labour-intensive techniques of production. In the Indian context, Dr. Sen believes that India’s basic problem lies in the deep-rooted poverty and wide-spread inequalities, and that removal of these two economic evils calls for a more participatory growth on a wider basis. But wider participatory growth is difficult to achieve due to severe inequalities in social and economic opportunities. Therefore, “solution to India’s economic problems lies in preservation and better practice of democracy, rapid social development through public and private efforts, introducing pragmatic economic changes in the economy and removal of institutional, legal and other barriers in mobility and socio-economic equity.”

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