A renowned economist, he had a deep understanding of the working of the Indian financial system and was an expert on the Chinese economy.
In the passing away of Saumitra Chaudhuri, India has lost an eminent economist. He was a highly valued colleague of mine in the Economic Advisory Council to the prime minister. He played a key role in the drafting of the Annual Outlook of the Economy which the council submitted to the prime minister and the nation.
Intellectually sharp, he was gifted with the ability to provide answers to thorny problems. He saw himself as an applied economist. His domain of interest in economics was wide, ranging from real sector issues to monetary, fiscal and trade policies. He had a deep understanding of the working of the Indian financial system and the corporate sector. He had outlined in many places how the corporate sector responded to liberalisation in terms of efficiency. He tracked carefully the developments of the rest of the world and their impact on the Indian economy. His frequent visits to China made him an expert on the Chinese economy. It is difficult to find another economist with such a comprehensive reach.
Any picture of Saumitra will not be complete without a reference to his attachment of data. His laptop was a treasure house of information. He knew the sources of data and the methodology used for collection and computation. In essence, he knew the merits and limitations of the data we use. He worked with me in several areas of data credibility. He chaired the committee to revise the Index of Industrial Production. The implementation of his recommendations will enhance the usefulness of this important set of data which has come in for severe criticism in recent years.
C.Rangarajan is Former Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and Former Governor, Reserve Bank of India.