Join  CPPR and the INET for a series of three sessions delving into the economic response of the Kerala economy towards new reforms and understanding their impact on employment, education, industrialization, and migration.

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The Vikasarth Conversations bring together a small and carefully curated group of “pracademics” engaged in legal, economic, and public policy spheres to deliberate on pressing governance challenges via an interdisciplinary approach.


Pulapre Balakrishnan, Professor of Economics, Ashoka University Senior Fellow, IIM Kozhikode

Bornali Bhandari, Senior Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)

Vinod Thomas, Visiting Professor, National University of Singapore Distinguished Fellow in Development Management, Asian Institute of Management, Manila Philippines

About the Speakers:

Pulapre Balakrishnan

Pulapre Balakrishnan was born at Klari, his ancestral village in Kerala, India in 1955. He was educated at Moscow, Madras and New Delhi, and trained as an economist at Oxford and Cambridge. His published work spans the inflationary process, the measurement of productivity, the transition to a market economy in post-communist Europe, agricultural decline in Kerala and economic growth in India. Though published in the profession’s journals, he is perhaps better known for his books ‘Pricing and Inflation in India’ (OUP, 1991) and ‘Economic Growth in India: History and Prospect’ (OUP, 2010). He has held appointments at Oxford University, the Indian Statistical Institute at Delhi and the Indian Institute of Management at Kozhikode. Further, he has served as Country Economist for Ukraine at the World Bank and as a consultant to the ILO, RBI and UNDP. During 2010-13 he was the Director of the Centre for Development Studies at Thiruvananthapuram. Currently Professor of Economics of Ashoka University, Sonipat, he has for three decades by now intervened in the public debate on India’s economy through his popular writing. Balakrishnan is a recipient of the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for Distinguished Contribution to Development Studies (2014).

Bornali Bhandari

Bornali Bhandari is a Senior Fellow at NCAER with a background in international economics and macroeconomics, specifically focusing on the impact of globalization on development. Currently she is engaged in analyzing and assessing the progress and prospects of implementing Direct Benefit Transfers in states and Union Territories. Her wider research interests include analysis of skilling from a 3-E perspective (education, employability and employment), infrastructure, particularly the roads and ICT sectors, G-20 issues like climate change financing and reserve currency, FDI and trade-related issues. She also oversees the production of NCAER’s macro publications, the Quarterly Review of the Economy, and Quarterly Business Expectations Survey.

Bornali received her PhD in Economics from the University of Oregon, Eugene, USA.

Vinod Thomas

Vinod Thomas is currently Visiting professor at National University of Singapore. He is a Distinguished Fellow in Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management, Manila Philippines.

Previously he was Director General of Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank (2011-2016). Prior to that he was Director-General and Senior Vice-President of the Independent Evaluation Group at the World Bank Group (2006-2011). He was formerly Country Director for Brazil and Vice-President. He was Vice-President of the World Bank Institute. Having joined the World Bank in 1976, he was Chief Economist for the East Asia and Pacific region, Director for the World Development Report, Chief of Trade Policy and Principal Economist for Colombia, and Economist for Bangladesh.

Vinod has a PhD and MA in Economics from the University of Chicago and a BA from St. Stephen’s college, Delhi, and Pre-degree from Mar Ivanios college. He has authored 17 books, articles, and reports on macroeconomic, social, and environmental issues. His books include The Quality of Growth, 2000, Multilateral Banks and the Development Process, (with Xubei Luo), 2012, Climate Change and Natural Disasters, 2017, and (with Namrata Chindarkar) Economic Evaluation of Sustainable Development, 2019.

He has taught at Vassar College, New York and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, been on several Boards and has addressed numerous fora in India and many other countries. He has been advisor for evaluation at Global Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility, and IFAD, and for Results for Development, the Emerging Market Forum, and Centre for Social and Economic Progress, India.