Isher Judge Ahluwalia, an Indian economist, public policy researcher, and professor passed away on September 26, 2020.
Ahluwalia was an IFPRI Board Member (2000-06) and Board Chair (2003-06). She successfully governed IFPRI throughout those years and was instrumental in establishing IFPRI’s South Asia Regional Office in New Delhi in 2005, which has continued to flourish.
Her career began at the International Monetary Fund. Later, she moved to India where she was a professor at the Centre for Policy Research. The work she performed over the years as an economist, researcher, and academic has been expansive. She worked with and for numerous organizations including as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) where she finished her long and illustrious career.
She was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India in the year 2009 for her services in
the field of education and literature. Her two books ‘Industrial Growth in India: Stagnation since
the Mid-Sixties (1989, Oxford University Press) and Productivity and Growth in Indian
Manufacturing (1991, Oxford University Press) are seminal contributions to the literature. About
a decade ago, her interest in issues of urban economics and governance grew when she
became Chairperson of the High Powered Expert Committee on Urban Infrastructure and Services
during 2008-11. Subsequently, Ahluwalia made the urbanization field her own and went on to publish
two books on the subject.
As an author, her work spanned public policy, urban infrastructure, and sustainable urbanization. Her last book, Breaking Through was a memoir and spoke about her career that broke many glass ceilings in the economics and public policy space.
IFPRI joins the international development world, her colleagues and former colleagues, the students she helped educate, as well as her family and friends in expressing our sense of loss. IFPRI celebrates Isher Judge Ahluwalia’s life and the policies she championed.