Our Inspiration

Dr. Ashok Kotwal

Renowned economist Ashok Kotwal, known for his fundamental contributions to the field of development economics, had an emotional connection with Pragati Abhiyan as a guide cum dear friend. His departure is indeed a great loss to the organisation.

In the late eighties and early nineties, Dr. Ashok Kotwal and Dr. Mukesh Eswaran wrote a series of research articles on the economics of agriculture that attracted the attention of economists studying these subjects around the world. This research is still a part of many university curriculums today.

The book  ‘Why Poverty Persists in India’ written by them was published shortly afterward. The book that explained the causes of poverty in India in a very simple language to anyone with no knowledge of economics became famous all over the world. This book is a perfect example of how to teach economics.

The economist in Ashok Kotwal was not confined to academia within university circles, as he never thought that economists have any special knowledge than organizations working with people and asserted that economists should always learn from the experiences of people close to the ground.

This approach brought him and Pragati Abhiyan closer and he became a permanent member of the family. He was intellectually and mentally involved in every project of the organization. Ashok was also instrumental in securing financial support for Pragati Abhiyan projects, in his capacity as a board member of Siva (Canada India Village Aid).

One of the major contributions of Ashok Kotwal is starting the web magazine & Ideas for India’ and holding its responsibility as editor-in-chief. On this platform, economists from around the world researching various aspects of India development, present their ideas in a language that policymakers and journalists can understand. Today, the magazine has earned a prestigious space and name for itself. Ashok Kotwal continued to work for this magazine till his very last breath. His personality was and will continue to remain a source of inspiration for all of us in Pragati Abhiyan.

Here are links to a few newspaper articles written by Ashok Kotwal: