Bibek Debroy

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Bibek Debroy
Bibek Debroy.jpg
Debroy at Ahmedabad Management Association
Alma materPresidency College
University of Delhi
Trinity College, Cambridge
Spouse(s)Suparna Banerjee

Bibek Debroy Chairman of the PM's Economic Council. Debroy has made significant contributions to game theory, economic theory,[1] income and social inequalities, poverty, law reforms, railway reforms and Indology among others. He is an anchor for the fortnightly show "Itihasa" on Sansad TV.

From its inception in January 2015, till June 2019, Mr. Debroy was a member of the NITI Aayog, the think tank of the Indian Government. He was awarded the Padma Shri (the fourth-highest civilian honour in India) in 2015.[2] In 2016, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by US-India Business Summit.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

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 Vidyalaya, 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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, a 3-volume, unabridged translation of the Bhagavata Purana, which was published in 2019 and a one-volume translation of Markandeya Purana, published in 2019. Recently, in 2021, he has published a 2-volume translation of the Brahma Purana.

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.[14][15][16] 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.


Debroy has translated the unabridged version of the Mahabharata into English, in a series of 10 volumes and amounting to 2.25 million words. He has also translated the Bhagavad Gita, the Harivamsa, the Vedas and Valmiki's Ramayana (in three volumes). He has translated the Bhagavata Purana (in three volumes), the Markandeya Purana (one volume) and the Brahma Purana (two volumes). Along with Manmatha Nath Dutt, he is only the second person to have translated both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, in unabridged form, into English.

Reception of Valmiki Ramayana[edit]

There have been multiple accounts that have praised Debroy's translations. According to A.K Bhattacharya, the translation of Ramayana by Debroy "is an effort for which Debroy deserves unqualified praise, especially because of the remarkably short time he has taken to translate the Valmiki Ramayana in simple language that is easy to understand. Its accessibility is enhanced by the annotations in the form of footnotes across all the chapters, providing explanations for references to characters and incidents that otherwise would have made little sense to the lay reader".[17]

In a review of Debroy's 'The Valmiki Ramayana 3 volumes' published in 'The Indian Express', Arshia Sattar writes that "He has a breezy and conversational style as, for example, in his Introduction, where he is able to present complex ideas about philology and the history of the text’s composition simply and without fuss. These provide the lay reader with all the information that s/he needs to have, should s/he care to know more about the form and content of the text at hand."[18]

Willis Goth Regier, director of the University of Illinois Press, found Debroy's translation to be poor and lacking in every aspect, if compared with the translations of Robert P. Goldman.[19]


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. ^ "Bibek Debroy". 15 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Choicest images: President Pranab Mukherjee confers Padma Awards 2015". Economic Times.
  3. ^ "All set for Sansad TV launch; Karan Singh, Tharoor, Kant, Sanyal to host special shows".
  4. ^ "PM Narendra Modi to launch Sansad TV on September 15: Report". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 10 September 2021.
  5. ^ "PM Modi to launch Sansad TV on September 15 - ET BrandEquity".
  6. ^ "संसद टीवी : 15 सितंबर को प्रधानमंत्री मोदी करेंगे नए चैनल का शुभारंभ, लोकसभा व राज्यसभा टीवी का हुआ इसमें विलय".
  7. ^ "PM Modi to launch Sansad TV on September 15, say sources | India News - Times of India".
  8. ^ "Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch Sansad TV on Sept 15: Report".
  9. ^ "When will Sansad TV go live? Why Parliament proceedings need a channel to be aired instead of LS and RS TV?". 15 September 2021.
  10. ^ "PM Modi to launch Sansad TV on 15 Sept: Report". 13 September 2021.
  11. ^ Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor; United Nations Development Programme (1 January 2008). Making the law work for everyone. Vol. II. New York: Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor : United Nations Development Programme. p. ii. ISBN 9789211262209.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Economists Arvind Panagariya, Bibek Debroy appointed to Niti Aayog". HuffPost India. 5 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Arvind Panagariya appointed NITI Aayog vice-chairman; Debroy, Saraswat members". The Times of India.
  16. ^ "Seven Questions about Niti Aayog that Modi govt should answer". Economic Times Blog. 5 January 2015.
  17. ^ Bhattacharya, A K. "Bibek Debroy's translation of the Ramayana is easy to navigate". Business Standard. Business Standard. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  18. ^ Sattar, Arshia. "Game of Thrones". The Indian Express. The Indian Express. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  19. ^ Regier, Willis Goth (2018). "The Valmiki Ramayana trans. Bibek Debroy, and: The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki trans. Robert P. Goldman and Sally J. Sutherland Goldman (review)". MLN. 133 (5): 1443–1445. doi:10.1353/mln.2018.0095. ISSN 1080-6598.


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), Vishnu Purana (1 volume) and Shiva Purana (3 volumes) and is now working on a translation of Brahmanda Purana.

External links[edit]