Since its launch in 2012, the KNRaj centre has been imparting programmes on Economics, Public Policy and Political Economy. Named after Prof. KN Raj, in honour of, and to perpetuate the memory of the late Prof. K.N. Raj, a highly esteemed Indian economist of post-independent generation and a great institution builder, the Centre is a befitting tribute to this renowned economist whose contributions to India’s development economics and planning are profound and enduring. The institution of the Centre with a focus on Planning and Centre-State Financial Relations has special significance.

Prof. Raj was one of the architects of the First Five Year Plan in India. He also served as economic adviser to Prime Ministers from Nehru to P.V. Narasimha Rao. Throughout his career, Raj was an ardent advocate of equitable development and the welfare of the common man. His writings and perspectives on planning, agriculture, land reforms, rural economy, unemployment, poverty, economic growth and investment, savings and capital formation, decentralisation and development etc have great relevance, both from academic and public policy points of view.

Prof. K N Raj

Prof. K.N. Raj’s intellectual engagements in the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) brought forth what came to be known as the Kerala model of development, characterised by high social sector spending that led to high human development indices even at relatively low level of per capita income. The Report Poverty, Unemployment and Development Policy: A Case Study of Selected Issues with Reference to Kerala prepared for United Nations by a team from the CDS led by Prof. K.N. Raj drew attention to a paradoxical scenario. In spite of having a very low per capita income, a high percentage of population below poverty line (48 per cent, as estimated by the Report based on a detailed food balance sheet, which took into account the local consumption pattern) and a high unemployment rate especially among the educated, Kerala had the highest literacy rate and school enrolments and the longest expectancy of life in the country.

An advocate of ‘planning from below,’ Raj worked assiduously to uphold both studies and action on decentralised development through local bodies and Panchayat Raj institutions in Kerala. All this underlines the significance of institutionalising a Centre in Prof. K. N. Raj’s name in Mahatma Gandhi University.

KNRaj Center,

M G University, Priyadharshini Hills,

Kottayam, Kerala, India. Pin: 686560

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