Distinguished economist Thirukodikaval Nilakanta Srinivasan, better known as Prof TN Srinivasan, passed away here on Saturday at the age of 85.

“Great Indian economist, TN Srinivasan has died. His legacy: outstanding scholarship; principled belief in growth, free trade & multi-lateralism; unassuming; mentoring; and wit...,” Arvind Subramanian, former Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India. tweeted a tribute.

A developmental economist well-known for his wit and humour, Srinivasan was the Emeritus Samuel C Park, Jr Professor of Economics and International Area Studies Emeritus at Yale University.

Born in March 1933, Srinivasan completed B.A. Mathematics(Hons) and M.A. Mathematics from the University of Madras during 1953-54 before undergoing a two-year professional training in statistics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, during 1953-55.

Srinivasan earned a doctorate in in Economics from Yale University, in 1962 and has since been teaching and working in the US. The Government of India conferred on him the Padma Bhushan in 2007.

Srinivasan held editorial positions in prominent economics journals such as Journal of Asian Economics , World Economic Review and Journal of Quantitative Economics . He also co-founded Journal of Development Economics , a field journal in development economics with macro economist Lance Jerome Taylor in 1972.

A strong votary of free trade and multi-lateralism, Srinivasan authored and co-authored several books on a wide range of topics including development economics, international trade, finance and development, rural economy and poverty. His famous books include India’s Economic Reforms co-authored with renowned economist Jagdish Bhagwati, and Reintegrating India with World Economy , with economist Suresh Tendulkar.

The present RBI Governor, Urjit Patel, was a student of macro-economics under Srinivasan at Yale; the veteran economist had welcomed the government’s decision to bring in his student as the central bank’s Governor.

Guru to many

“...For almost five decades, he was a veritable guru to many. He never craved for public recognition and was immersed in the world of scholarship till the very end. What an inspiration he was!” tweeted Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

Historian Ramachandra Guha, tweeted: “TN Srinivasan also had a wicked wit. In 1991, he wrote that the Indian Marxists who still worshipped Lenin and Stalin should import the now demolished statues in Eastern Europe of these dictators under the customs category, Open General Licence.”

After a four-year tenure as Special Adviser, Development Research Center at the World Bank till 1980, Srinivasan had been teaching at world-renowned academic institutions over the past four decades, including MIT, Stanford University, and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He was Honorary Visiting Professor at the Department of Humanities at IIT-Madras.