John Mathai CIE (1886-1959) was an economist who served as India's first Railway Minister and subsequently as India's Finance Minister, taking office shortly after the presentation of India's first Budget, in 1948. Mathai graduated in economics from Madras Christian College. He served as a part-time professor in University of Madras from 1922 to 1925. He presented two Budgets, but resigned following the 1950 Budget in protest at the increasing power of the Planning Commission and P. C. Mahalanobis. He was the first Chairman of the State Bank of India when it was set up in 1955. He was the founding President of the Governing Body of NCAER, the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi, India’s first independent economic policy institute established in 1956. He served as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Mumbai from 1955 till 1957 and then as the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Kerala from 1957 to 1959. His nephew, Verghese Kurien, was the father of India's White Revolution. His son, Ravi J. Mathai, was the Founder Director of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Dr. John Mathai Centre, Thrissur, located on the large plot of land donated by his family, is named in his honour.
R. K. Shanmukham Chetty
|Finance Minister of India