Bibek Debroy

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Bibek Debroy
Bibek Debroy.jpg
Bibek Debroy at Ahmedabad Management Association.
Born (1955-01-25) 25 January 1955 (age 65)
Alma materPresidency College
University of Delhi
Trinity College, Cambridge
Spouse(s)Suparna Banerjee

Bibek Debroy (born 25 January 1955) is the Chairman of the PM's Economic Council. Debroy has made significant contributions to game theory, economic theory, income and social inequalities, poverty, law reforms, railway reforms and Indology among others.

He is currently serving as the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM). From its inception in January 2015, till June 2019, Mr. Debroy was a member of the NITI Aayog, the think tank of Indian Government. He was awarded the Padma Shri (the fourth highest civilian honour in India) in 2015.[1] In 2016, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by US-India Business Summit. Debroy has authored over 110 books in the field of Economics, Polity, Indology and Sanskrit. Debroy translated the unabridged version of Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, into English, becoming only the third person ever to achieve the feat. Debroy's translation of the Mahabharata was published in a series of 10 volumes amounting to 2.25 million words. He has also translated the Bhagavad Gita, the Harivamsa, the Vedas and the Valmiki Ramayana (in three volumes). He has translated the Bhagavata Purana (in three volumes) and the Markandeya Purana (one volume). Along with Manmatha Nath Dutt, he is only the second person to have translated both the Mahabharata and the Valmiki Ramayana, in unabridged form, into English. He has featured in the 2019 Limca Book of Records as a "most prolific translator".

Early life and education[edit]

Debroy was born in Shillong, now in Meghalaya, on 25 January 1955. His grandparents had migrated from Sylhet, now in Bangladesh; his paternal grandfather and his father migrating as late as 1948. His father went on to join the Indian Audit and Accounts Service.

Debroy started his education at St. Peter's, Shillong. He studied there till the 6th standard. In 1965, he won a National Merit Scholarship that funded all boarding, lodging, and tuition; standing second in what was then an undivided Assam. His efforts took him to Ramakrishna Mission School, Narendrapur, in 7th standard. He passed his school leaving examinations in 1970 and joined Presidency College, Kolkata, with a scholarship from the Director of Public Instruction (DPI), West Bengal. He graduated with Honours in Economics in 1973, standing first in the University and winning a gold medal. He joined the Delhi School of Economics in 1974 with a University Grants Commission (UGC) scholarship. Debroy was awarded another gold medal for standing first in the university when he completed his M.A. in Economics in 1976.

Later on, Debroy went to the University of Cambridge on a Trinity College scholarship, where he met his then supervisor, Frank Hahn, a noted British economist. Debroy, under the tutelage of Hahn, worked on integrating information into a general equilibrium framework. A considerable amount of work on integrating information into a general equilibrium framework took place during this period. Though his initial intention was to complete a PhD, owing to no substantial results, Debroy settled for the lower degree of MSc and returned to work in India.


His past positions include the Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, Consultant to the Department of Economic Affairs of Finance Ministry (Government of India), Secretary General of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Director of the project LARGE (Legal Adjustments and Reforms for Globalising the Economy), set up by the Finance Ministry and UNDP for examining legal reforms in India. Between December 2006 and July 2007, he was the rapporteur for implementation in the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor.[2] Debroy has authored several books, papers and popular articles, has been the Consulting Editor of Indian financial and other newspapers. He has been a member of the National Manufacturing Competitive Council from November 2004 to December 2009.[citation needed] He was the Chairman of a Committee set up by the Chief Minister of Jharkhand to recommend a development plan for the State.[3] He has been a Member of the Chief Minister's Economic Advisory Council in Rajasthan.

From 2014 to 2015, he was the Chairman of the High Powered Committee set up by the Ministry of Railways to restructure Indian Railways.[4] In the past, Debroy has taught at Presidency College, Calcutta, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and the National Council of Applied Economic Research. In 2010, he started authoring a ten-volume unabridged English translation of the Hindu epic The Mahabharata. This concluded in 2014. He has published a translation of the Harivamsha in 2016 and the Bhagavad Gita in 2006. He has done a 3-volume translation of the Valmiki Ramayana, published in 2017 and a 3-volume, unabridged translation of the Bhagavata Purana, which was published in 2019. His last translation work is a one-volume translation of Markandeya Purana, published in 2019.

On 5 January 2015, he was appointed as permanent member of NITI Aayog (or National Institution for Transforming India Aayog), which is the replacement of Planning Commission and will act as a think-tank to the government of India.[5][6][7] He served as a Member of Niti Aayog till June 2019. In September 2017, he was appointed Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. In September 2018, he was appointed the President of the Indian Statistical Institute.


Shriram Sanlam Award for financial journalism - 2013. Padma Shri – 2015. D. Litt. (Honoris Causa), KIIT University – 2015. D. Phil. (Honoris Causa), Amity University – 2016. Lifetime Achievement Award, US-India Business Summit – 2016. D. Phil. (Honoris Causa), Jagran Lakecity University - 2017. Skoch Challenger Golden Jubilee Award - 2017. Lifetime Achievement Award, Prestige Institute of Management and Research - 2018. Conferred title of "Vachaspati", Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha - 2018. "Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskara", Power Brand - 2018. D. Sc. (Honoris Causa), University of Engineering and Management – 2018. D. Litt. (Honoris Causa), Techno India University, 2019. Skoch Literature Award, 2020.


  1. ^ "Choicest images: President Pranab Mukherjee confers Padma Awards 2015". Economic Times.
  2. ^ Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor; United Nations Development Programme (1 January 2008). Making the law work for everyone. II. New York: Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor : United Nations Development Programme. p. ii. ISBN 9789211262209.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Economists Arvind Panagariya, Bibek Debroy appointed to Niti Aayog". HuffPost India. 5 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Arvind Panagariya appointed NITI Aayog vice-chairman; Debroy, Saraswat members". The Times of India.
  7. ^ "Seven Questions about Niti Aayog that Modi govt should answer". Economic Times Blog. 5 January 2015.


Indology and others
Unabridged translation of the Mahabharata/Ramayana/Puranas

Debroy has translated the Bhagavad Gita, the Mahabharata (10 volumes), Harivamsha, the Valmiki Ramayana (3 volumes), the Bhagavata Purana (3 volumes) and the Markandeya Purana. He has finished a translation of Brahma Purana (2 volumes) and is now working on a translation of Vishnu Purana (1 volume).

External links[edit]