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Bibek Debroy
Debroy addressing at the Ahmedabad Management Association, August 2008.
Alma materPresidency College
University of Delhi
Trinity College, Cambridge
SpouseSuparna Banerjee

Bibek Debroy is an Indian economist, serving as the chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. He is also the Chairman of the Finance Ministry's 'Expert Committee for Infrastructure Classification and Financing Framework for Amrit Kaal'.[1][2] Debroy has made significant contributions to game theory, economic theory,[3] income and social inequalities, poverty, law reforms, railway reforms and Indology among others. Bibek Debroy's recent co-authored magnum opus, Inked in India, stands distinguished as the premier comprehensive documentation, capturing the entirety of recognized fountain pen, nib, and ink manufacturers in India.[4] He is also an anchor for the fortnightly show Itihasa on Sansad TV.[5]

From its inception in January 2015, till June 2019, Mr. Debroy was a member of the NITI Aayog, the think tank of the Indian Government. He was awarded the Padma Shri (the fourth-highest civilian honour in India) in 2015.[6] In 2016, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by US-India Business Summit.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] In 2022, he was conferred with Lifetime Achievement Award by The Australia India Chamber of Commerce (AICC). [15]

Early life and education

Debroy was born in Shillong, now in Meghalaya, on 25 January 1955. His grandparents had migrated from Sylhet, now in Bangladesh; his paternal grandfather and his father migrating as late as 1948. His father went on to join the Indian Audit and Accounts Service.

Bibek Debroy started his school education at Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Narendrapur. After that he studied at Kolkata Presidency College and Delhi School of Economics. Later on, Debroy went to the University of Cambridge on a Trinity College scholarship, where he met his then supervisor, Frank Hahn, a noted British economist. Debroy, under the tutelage of Hahn, worked on integrating information into a general equilibrium framework. A considerable amount of work on integrating information into a general equilibrium framework took place during this period. Though his initial intention was to complete a PhD, owing to no substantial results, Debroy settled for the lower degree of MSc and returned to work in India.[16]


His past positions include the Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, Consultant to the Department of Economic Affairs of Finance Ministry (Government of India), Secretary-General of PhD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Director of the project LARGE (Legal Adjustments and Reforms for Globalising the Economy), set up by the Finance Ministry and UNDP for examining legal reforms in India. Between December 2006 and July 2007, he was the rapporteur for implementation in the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor.[17] Debroy has authored several books, papers and popular articles, has been the Consulting Editor of Indian financial and other newspapers. He has been a member of the National Manufacturing Competitive Council from November 2004 to December 2009.[18] He was the Chairman of a Committee set up by the Chief Minister of Jharkhand to recommend a development plan for the State.[19] He has been a Member of the Chief Minister's Economic Advisory Council in Rajasthan.

From 2014 to 2015, he was the Chairman of the High Powered Committee set up by the Ministry of Railways to restructure Indian Railways.[20] In the past, Debroy has taught at Presidency College, Calcutta, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and the National Council of Applied Economic Research.

On 5 January 2015, he was appointed as permanent member of NITI Aayog (or National Institution for Transforming India Aayog), which is the replacement of Planning Commission and will act as a think-tank to the government of India.[21][22][23] He served as a Member of Niti Aayog till June 2019. In September 2017, he was appointed Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. From September 2018 to September 2022, the President of the Indian Statistical Institute. In September 2022, he was appointed Chancellor of Pune’s Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute.[24]

Itihasa: Sansad TV Series

Debroy anchors Itihasa, a show telecasted on Sansad TV, the official channel of Parliament of India. The series is a journey to discover what is "Bharata", what it means to be "Bhartiya" and what it means in terms of India's Sanatana Sanskriti.


Debroy has translated the unabridged version of the Mahabharata into English, in a series of 10 volumes. He has also translated the Bhagavad Gita, the Harivamsa, the Vedas and Valmiki's Ramayana (in three volumes). He has translated the Bhagavata Purana (in three volumes), the Markandeya Purana (one volume), the Brahma Purana (two volumes) the Vishnu Purana (one volume) and the Shiva Purana (three volumes). Along with Manmatha Nath Dutt, he is only the second person to have translated both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, in unabridged form, into English. For his translations, he has been conferred with Sir Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar Memorial Award in July 2023 by the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.[25]


The Reception by experts in the popular press has been favorable. Business Standard, reviewing his translation of Ramayana, admired Debroy's lucidity and addition of explanatory footnotes.[26] Arshia Sattar, reviewing the same work for The Indian Express, applauded his remarkable feat of translating the two major Sanskrit epics and praised his introduction to the text as well as literal translation; notwithstanding the relatively poor scholarly apparatus vis-à-vis Goldman, Debroy's was held to be more compact and accessible.[27][28][29] Hindustan Times, reviewing the translation of Mahabharata, commended his academic-like rigor and passion; it spoke favorably of Debroy's choice of words—modernized yet true to the Sanskrit source—, and sprinkling of mathematical details in notes.[30] According to a review of Shiva Purana in News18,[31] Bibek Debroy's translation is highlighted for its clarity and ease of understanding, like his previous translations of the Puranas, enriched with extensive footnotes and consistent use of terms, addressing the challenge of untranslated Sanskrit terms through explanatory footnotes and is highly recommended for those seeking an unabridged, distortion-free translation of the Shiva Purana.

Bibek Debroy's translation of the Shiva Purana is lauded by Open Magazine[32] for its ability to capture the profound complexity and depth of this ancient text, effectively bringing its wisdom to modern readers who are not well-versed in Sanskrit. His work is not just a translation but an intellectual bridge that connects contemporary India with its rich spiritual heritage. Debroy masterfully conveys the intricate philosophies, narratives, and spiritual insights of the Shiva Purana, presenting them in a way that's comprehensive yet deeply impactful. This translation serves as a guiding light for serious readers, enabling them to explore and perhaps even experience the enigmatic essence of Shiva, encapsulated in the age-old question: "What is Shiva?" Beyond its spiritual significance, Debroy’s translation is a monumental contribution to India's cultural and intellectual discourse, providing a foundational framework for the nation's engagement with its ancient glory and spiritual inheritance.

In contrast, Willis Goth Regier, director of the University of Illinois Press, found Debroy's translation of Ramayana to be poor and lacking, if compared to that of Robert P. Goldman.[33]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Infrastructure may get new definition to woo investors".
  3. ^ "Bibek Debroy". 15 November 2017.
  4. ^ Bombaywala, Suhit. "Inked in India; Fountain Pens and A Story of Make and Unmake by Bibek Debroy and Sovan Roy". Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times. Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  5. ^ "Sangsad TV: Itihasa".
  6. ^ "Choicest images: President Pranab Mukherjee confers Padma Awards 2015". Economic Times.
  7. ^ "All set for Sansad TV launch; Karan Singh, Tharoor, Kant, Sanyal to host special shows".
  8. ^ "PM Narendra Modi to launch Sansad TV on September 15: Report". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 10 September 2021.
  9. ^ "PM Modi to launch Sansad TV on September 15".
  10. ^ "संसद टीवी : 15 सितंबर को प्रधानमंत्री मोदी करेंगे नए चैनल का शुभारंभ, लोकसभा व राज्यसभा टीवी का हुआ इसमें विलय".
  11. ^ "PM Modi to launch Sansad TV on September 15, say sources". The Times of India.
  12. ^ "Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch Sansad TV on Sept 15: Report". Businesstodayin. 10 September 2021. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  13. ^ "When will Sansad TV go live? Why Parliament proceedings need a channel to be aired instead of LS and RS TV?". 15 September 2021.
  14. ^ "PM Modi to launch Sansad TV on 15 Sept: Report". 13 September 2021.
  15. ^ AB Wire. "Bibek Debroy conferred with Lifetime Achievement Award in Australia". American Bazaar. Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  16. ^ "Bibek_Debroy" (PDF).
  17. ^ Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor; United Nations Development Programme (1 January 2008). Making the law work for everyone. Vol. II. New York: Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor : United Nations Development Programme. p. ii. ISBN 9789211262209.
  18. ^ "Bibek Debroy". CPR. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  19. ^ Kumar, Amit. "Jharkhand at a glance". Jharkhand State Portal. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  20. ^ "Report of the Committee for Mobilization of Resources for Major Railway Projects and Restructuring of Railway Ministry and Railway Board" (PDF). Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  21. ^ "Economists Arvind Panagariya, Bibek Debroy appointed to Niti Aayog". HuffPost India. 5 January 2015.
  22. ^ "Arvind Panagariya appointed NITI Aayog vice-chairman; Debroy, Saraswat members". The Times of India. 5 January 2015.
  23. ^ "Seven Questions about Niti Aayog that Modi govt should answer". Economic Times Blog. 5 January 2015.
  24. ^ Desk, P. M. B. (6 September 2022). "Pune: Veteran economist Bibek Debroy appointed as Deccan College's new chancellor".
  25. ^ Loksatta. "भांडारकर स्मृती पुरस्कार डॉ. विवेक देबरॉय यांना जाहीरभांडारकर स्मृती पुरस्कार डॉ. विवेक देबरॉय यांना जाहीर". Loksatta. Loksatta. Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  26. ^ Bhattacharya, A. K. (17 March 2018). "Book review: Bibek Debroy's translation of the Ramayana is easy to navigate". Business Standard India. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  27. ^ "Game of Thrones". The Indian Express. 9 June 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  28. ^ "The Bhagavata Purana book review: Of times and tales past". The Indian Express. 4 May 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  29. ^ "A Spectacular Epic". The Book Review, Monthly Review of Important Books. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  30. ^ "Review: The Mahabharata: Volume 5". Hindustan Times. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  31. ^
  32. ^ Chikermane, Gautam. "The Dance of Shiva". Open Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  33. ^ Regier, Willis Goth (2018). "The Valmiki Ramayana trans. Bibek Debroy, and: The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki trans. Robert P. Goldman and Sally J. Sutherland Goldman (review)". MLN. 133 (5): 1443–1445. doi:10.1353/mln.2018.0095. ISSN 1080-6598. S2CID 165516655.


Indology and others
Unabridged translation of the Mahabharata/Ramayana/Puranas

Debroy has translated the Bhagavad Gita, the Mahabharata (10 volumes), Harivamsha, the Valmiki Ramayana (3 volumes), the Bhagavata Purana (3 volumes), the Markandeya Purana, the Brahma Purana (2 volumes), the Vishnu Purana (1 volume) and Shiva Purana (3 volumes). He is now working on a translation of Brahmanda Purana.