Session 4: Rolling Up Your Sleeves to Build State Capacity

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Dr Vijay Kelkar, former Chairman, 13th Finance Commission of India; and former Finance Secretary of India, and Dr Ajay Shah, Economist; and former Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, in conversation with Dr Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Research Director and Senior Fellow, IDFC Institute, on ‘Rolling Up Your Sleeves to Build State Capacity’.


Dr Vijay Kelkar

Dr Vijay Kelkar was the former Chairman of the 13th Finance Commission of India, and former Finance Secretary of India (1998-1999). One of India’s most prominent economists, Dr Kelkar was Advisor to the Minister of Finance (2002-2004). In 1999 he was nominated as Executive Director of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka on the Board of the International Monetary Fund.

In 2011, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the country for his services to the country. He has also held various positions in government and the private sector, serving as Chairman of the Tariff Commission, Secretary, Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas; Director & Coordinator, International Trade Division to UNCTAD in Geneva; Chairman, Bureau of Industrial Costs & Prices, Secretary, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister; Economic Policy & Planning Advisor to the Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, and Economic Advisor in Ministry of Commerce. Dr Kelkar is also Chairman of the Indian School on Public Policy (ISPP), and has held board positions at the Forum of Federations, Ottawa & India Development Foundation, the India Development Foundation, among other organisations. 

Dr Kelkar received a B.E. from the College of Engineering Pune, India, a M.S. from the University of Minnesota, U.S., and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr Ajay Shah

Dr Ajay Shah studied at IIT, Bombay and USC, Los Angeles. He has held positions at Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR), Department of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and National Institute for Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). 

He does academic and policy-oriented research on India, at the intersection of economics, law and public administration. His second book, co-authored with Vijay Kelkar, is "In Service of the Republic: The Art and Science of Economic Policy", and was published in 2019 by Penguin Allen Lane. His areas of focus are macroeconomics, finance, health, and technology policy. His work can be accessed on his home page and on the blog that he edits.

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