Shaping Public Policy

Vijay Laxman Kelkar has been one of the most creative, contemplative and versatile public policy makers of India. Whether it has been articulating a vision for the role of markets and government, or stressing for the importance of a sound public sector balance sheet, or arguing for tax reform and fiscal federalism, or making simple and sound policies through consensus, his contributions are non-parallel.

So reads, in part, the citation for the SKOCH Challenger Lifetime Achievement Award 2010 given to Vijay Kelkar. A more substantial result of the award is the festschrift, India on the Growth Turnpike edited by Sameer Kochhar, President of Skoch Development Foundation, who has been passionately working towards promoting participatory democracy, empowerment and bringing improvements in delivery systems.

Kelkar has unique contributions to the Indian economy in general and has played a key role in financial sector reforms process in particular. The essays in this festschrift are by some of the leading economists, bankers and policy planners of India. While saluting his visionary role in the government, they also provide an insight into some current and critical macroeconomic and finance issues. The writings cover a broad set of topics, among them fiscal, monetary and external sector policies, infrastructure, financial inclusion and education, and the contributors include Nitin Desai, Arvind Panagariya, Indira Rajaraman, Bibek Debroy, Surjit Bhalla among others.

Writing in The Hindu Businessline, G Srinivasan says A dozen essays by reputed economists in honour of Dr Vijay L. Kelkar cannot be construed merely as personal panegyrics as each one of the economists has taken up a larger theme that has a crucial bearing on India's development saga and its incessant quest for joining the developed country league by 2020.

In our Economics section, 317 pages, hardcover, Rs 995. ISBN:9788171888306