New Delhi: Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Dr Bibek Debroy said that Dr BR Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, believed that the word “socialist” should not be there in the constitution. He said that, Ambedkar argued that socialism means a certain kind of economic ideology and we should not presume today what the citizens of the future will want the nature of the policy to be in terms of state intervention. Dr Debroy was delivering a lecture during annual BR Shenoy Memorial Lecture 2020. Lecture was organised jointly by think tank Centre For Civil Society and ERC Trust.
While talking about ‘The Roots of Reform: Prof BR Shenoy and the economic ideas that changed India’, Dr Debroy said that Shenoy was against nationalisation and continuation of controls, as well as price support given to agriculture. He further said that It is now time for someone to write a biography of BR Shenoy because what he stood for is a part of our legacy and should be preserved for posterity. He stood for dharma, the way he interpreted it and saw it.
This lecture was a part of the annual BR Shenoy Memorial Lecture Series, which aims to memorialize Prof Shenoy’s ideas and policies through talks by speakers from India and abroad, including leading academics, policy experts, and public officials.
The event started with the host, Kumar Anand, talking about Prof Shenoy’s belief that national progress could only come from a market economy, liberal democracy, social mobility, and equality of all under the law. For him, economic growth only had meaning if it involved the betterment of the Common Man.
The Lecture by Dr Debroy was followed by a lively Question and Answer session.
On being asked about the future of planning in India, Dr Debroy said that the idea of planning, in terms of five year plans which tried to allocate resources, is increasingly obsolete in a system where decisions are made on the basis of private choices. What is needed now is perspective planning. Taking the example of Sustainable Development Goals, Dr Debroy highlighted the importance of planning in a sense of where one wants India to be in the future.