Haseeb Drabu

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Haseeb Drabu
حسیب احمد درابو
Former Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
Personal details
Gogjibagh Srinagar
Alma materCentre for Development Studies (Trivandrum)

Haseeb A Drabu is professional economist with a diverse skill set and wide-ranging experience. He has worked a Law maker, policy planner, banker and a economic commentator. In 2014, Drabu joined the J&K Peoples Democratic Party (J&K PDP). [1] [2] Later in the year, he contested and won with a huge margin the elections to the Legislative Assembly of J&K from Rajpora Constituency in Pulwana District[3]. He continues to be the member of the Legislative Assembly of J&K.

His most recent engagement, 2015 to 2018, has been as Finance Minister, of J&K. In early 2015, J&K PDP founder & patron, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed chose Drabu as the interlocutor from his party to hammer out an alliance with the Bhartiya Janata Party. After three months of negotiations with BJP, Drabu along with Ram Madhav of the BJP scripted the basis of the BJPDP alliance[4]: the Agenda of Alliance. Soon after Drabu was dropped from the cabinet in March 2018 [5], the alliance broke and the BJPDP government in J&K fell[6].

As a state Finance Minister, he was an active member of the GST council[7] in its most crucial phase of formulating and introducing the new tax regime in India[8].

As Finance Minister of J&K, he designed and negotiated a Rs 80,000 crore development package for J&K which was announced by the Prime Minister in May 2015[9]. He also negotiated the first ever FDI to set up a logistics hub in J&K[10]. He introduced a new state budget structure and a new government payments system.

Drabu has been involved with national economic policy making in India for a decade at the highest level, including in the Planning Commission, Finance Commission and the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister. He was instrumental in writing of the report of the Tenth Finance Commission which changed the fiscal federal relations in India.

He has worked as the Economic Adviser, the principal economic policy maker, at the state level for seven years. He was Chairman and Chief Executive of a J&K Bank, a large private bank, for five years. Those five years are widely seen as having been transformation years for the bank.

He has been on the boards and also advised a clutch of top Indian corporate on the macroeconomic situation, emerging businesses, and risk management. With an abiding interest in corporate governance, he has helped family businesses set up a governance structure and create a governance code. In his avatar as Editor of a Business Daily, he made his mark as a widely respected and incisive columnist on macroeconomics, fiscal and monetary policy. He has been a regular commentator on economic issues for the last 25 years. He has written a widely read fortnightly column for Wall Street Journal partner in India, the business daily, Mint Method and Manner[11]. Prior to this he wrote a weekly column Back to Basics, in Business Standard which was that time publishing in partnership with Financial Times, London[12].

While he is known to be the foremost expert on J&K economy, he has an abiding interest in the political economy and history of J&K. He has written extensively on various dimensions of the Kashmir issue in leading local daily Greater Kashmir. He wrote a weekly column for Greater Kashmir from 2011 till 2015 on political, governance, constitutional, fiscal and cultural issues of Kashmir[13].

He has been associated with government and corporate policy making in various capacities. He has been a member of:

  1. High Powered Committee on Economic Reforms for Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. Prime Minister’s Task Force on the Long-term Development of J&K
  3. Planning Commission’s Working Group on Resources other than Tax Resources for the Eleventh Five-Year Plan.
  4. Consultant, Asian Development Bank on reforms and reconstruction in J&K
  5. National Banking Panel of Confederation of Indian Industry
  6. Management Committee, Indian Bank’s Association.
  7. Advisory Committee of National Disaster Management Authority.
  8. Commission on Centre-State Relations.
  9. Expert Group on ‘Promotion of Diversity in living, education and workspaces for the minorities” formed by Government of India.
  10. Chairman, Committee on Power Tariff Structure for Industry.
  11. Chairman, Committee on Cross Border Trade.
  12. Chairman, Committee on Employment Generation.
  13. Chairman, Committee for Restructuring of J & K State PSUs.
  14. Chairman, Committee for Tax Reforms.
  15. Chairman, Committee for formulation of domestic and International trade Policy.
  16. Member, Task Force for preparing an IT Vision Document for J&K.
  17. Member, Task Force on Unique Identification Project of J&K