Former Planning Commission member Saumitra Chaudhuri no more


Mr. Chaudhuri had been a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council from 2005 onwards.

Eminent economist and a former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission, Saumitra Chaudhuri, who has served on the board of high level advisory panels of the government passed away early this morning.

“Chaudhuri passed away today morning at around 8 am. He was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was admitted in Ganga Ram hospital and his condition had deteriorated in the last three weeks,” his nephew Abheek said.

Mr. Chaudhuri was almost 63 years of age and was appointed member of Planning Commission in June 2009. He also headed important government committees and was on board of many high level panels of the government.

Born on January 11, 1954, Mr. Chaudhuri had been a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council from 2005 onwards.

He was also in race to become the Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), before Raghuram Rajan pipped him to the post and was one of the longest serving members of the Planning Commission.

He was the chairman of the Committee for Formulation of All Industry Rates of Duty Drawback 2005-06 to 2009-10 in the Ministry of Finance, where he later got an extension till date.

Mr. Chaudhuri had a basic degree in science and studied economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Before being part of Planning Commission, Mr. Chaudhuri worked as Economic Advisor and Research Co-ordinator with ICRA Limited, a full service credit rating agency, for 16 years (1993-2009) and was executive editor of the research publication — Money and Finance.

He began his working career in the Bureau of Industrial Costs & Prices (BICP), Ministry of Industry (1981—83) and later was senior economist in the Joint Plant Committee, Department of Steel from 1981 to 1983.

Subsequently he was associated with Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and State Bank of India (SBI) (1986-91), besides for short durations with World Bank and UNIDO over the two decades.

That apart, Chaudhuri was also a member of the High Level Committee set up by the Prime Minister to examine the Finances of Oil Companies and implications of rise in crude oil prices [June-July 2008], Chairman of the Committee to Review the ADR /GDR/FCCB Scheme, Finance Ministry from May 2007 to January 2008.

He was also a member of a High Level Committee on Estimation of Savings and Investments [Dec 2007 to Dec 2008] and member of the Inter—Ministerial Committee set up to examine pricing and taxation issues for petroleum products [October 2005 to February 2006].

Mr. Chaudhuri had over 25 monographs and papers spanning issues of industry, the financial sector, regional development and fiscal policy.