Montek Singh Ahluwalia (born 24 November 1943) is an Indian economist and civil servant who was the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of the Republic of India, a position which carries the rank of a Cabinet Minister. He tendered his resignation for this post in May 2014 following the impending end of the UPAII regime at the center.[1] He was previously the first Director of the Independent Evaluation Office at the International Monetary Fund.[2]

Early life and education

Montek Singh Ahluwalia was born in New Delhi in 1943. He studied at St. Patrick's High School, Secunderabad and Delhi Public School, Mathura Road. He graduated with a B.A. (Hons) degree from St. Stephen's College, Delhi, University of Delhi. He was a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford where he studied at Magdalen College, as a graduate obtaining an MA in Philosophy Politics and Economics.[3] He then read for an M.Phil at St. Antony's College at the University of Oxford. While at Oxford, he was the president of the prestigious Oxford Union. He has received several honorary degrees, including an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford and an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College.[4]



After graduating from University of Oxford, Ahluwalia joined the World Bank in 1968. At the age of 28, he became the youngest "Division Chief" in the World Bank's bureaucracy, in charge of the Income Distribution Division in the World Bank's Development Research Centre.

He returned to India in 1979 to take up the position of Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance. He held several senior positions as a civil servant, including Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Commerce secretary, Secretary Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry and Finance Secretary. In 1998 he was appointed Member of the Planning Commission.

In 2001, he was chosen by the Board of International Monetary Fund to be the first director of the newly created Independent Evaluation Office, in which capacity he supervised several studies critical of various aspects of the functioning of the IMF.

In June 2004, he resigned from the IMF position to take up as the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission as part of the United Progressive Alliance government in New Delhi.

Ahluwalia has been a key figure in the Indian economic reform process. He has consistently pushed for economic reforms involving a shift from the earlier reliance on extensive government control over the economy with high levels of protection, to a much more open economy with a larger role for the private sector responding to market forces and greater openness to imports, foreign technology and direct foreign investment.

He wrote an internal paper in 1990 proposing broad ranging economic reforms, which was leaked to the Press and was much discussed publicly. As Commerce Secretary under Dr Subramanian Swamy as Commerce & Law Minister, he played a major role in trade reforms and creating a blue print for liberalization. He was one of the small team, under Dr. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister, which guided and implemented reforms from 1991 to 1996 which were earlier led by Dr Subramanian Swamy.

As deputy chairman of the Planning Commission from 2004 onwards, he supervised the preparation of both the Eleventh Plan (2007-08 to 2011-12) titled "Towards Faster and More Inclusive Growth" and subsequently also the Twelfth Plan (2012-13 to 2016-17) titled "Faster, More Inclusive and Sustainable Growth".

The President of India awarded him the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour for public service.

He has published a number of articles on various aspects of the Indian economy in academic journals. He is one of the authors of "Redistribution with Growth" by Chenery et al., published by Oxford University Press in 1974.

He has also written on various aspects of India's economic reforms and on the inclusiveness of India's growth process (http://planningcommission.gov.in/aboutus/history/index.php?about=spemsabody.htm)


Journal articles

Chapters in books

  • Ahluwalia, Montek Singh (2009), "Growth, distribution and inclusiveness: reflections on India's experience", in Kanbur, Ravi; Basu, Kaushik, Arguments for a better world: essays in honor of Amartya Sen Volume II: Society, institutions and development, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 327–349, ISBN 9780199239979. 

World Bank

  • Ahluwalia, Montek Singh (1977). Rural poverty and agricultural performance in India. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. OCLC 236128470.  Reprint series number 60.

Personal life

Ahluwalia is married to fellow economist Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia and has two sons Pavan Ahluwalia and Aman Ahluwalia.

Awards and honours

Year of Award or Honor Name of Award or Honor Awarding Organization
2013 Honoris Causa Doctorate of Science Indian School of Mines
2011 Honoris Causa Doctorate of Science IIT Roorkee.[5]
2011 Padma Vibhushan President of India.
2008 Doctor of Civil Law Oxford University.


  1. ^ "Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia Resigns". NDTV. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Planning Commission". Government of India. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  3. ^ See R.W. Johnson, Look Back in Laughter: Oxford's Postwar Golden Age, Threshold Press, 2015.
  4. ^ http://www.magd.ox.ac.uk/people-at-magdalen/
  5. ^ Doctorate, Ahluwalia (12 November 2011). "Ahluwalia awarded Honorary Doctorate". Zee news. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 

External links