|Alma mater||Presidency College|
University of Delhi
Trinity College, Cambridge
Bibek Debroy is an Indian economist, serving as the chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. Debroy has made significant contributions to game theory, economic theory, income and social inequalities, poverty, law reforms, railway reforms and Indology among others. He is also an anchor for the fortnightly show Itihasa on Sansad TV.
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. In 2016, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by US-India Business Summit.
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 Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission School. 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.
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. 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. He was the Chairman of a Committee set up by the Chief Minister of Jharkhand to recommend a development plan for the State. 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. 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. 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. In September 2018, he was appointed the President of the Indian Statistical Institute.
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) and the Vishnu Purana (one volume). 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.
Willis Goth Regier, director of the University of Illinois Press, found Debroy's translation of Ramayana to be poor and lacking in every aspect, if compared to that of Robert P. Goldman.
In contrast, reception in popular press has been favorable. Business Standard, reviewing his translation of Ramayana, admired of Debroy's lucidity and addition of explanatory footnotes. 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. 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.
Debroy has translated the Bhagavad Gita, the Mahabharata (10 volumes), Harivamsha, the Valmiki Ramayana (3 volumes), the Bhagavata Purana (3 volumes), the Markandeya Purana and the Brahma Purana (2 volumes). He has finished a translation of Vishnu Purana (1 volume) and Shiva Purana (3 volumes) and is now working on a translation of Brahmanda Purana.