Santosh Mehrotra

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Earlier Life and Education

Santosh Mehrotra is a renowned human development economist; his research interests have spanned industry and trade issues, the impact of macro-economic policy on health and education, the informal sector, and the economics of health and education. Currently he is professor at Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He has given lectures on these issues at Cambridge University,[1] Oxford University,[2] University of Florence (Italy), Nankai University (Tianjin, China), and other universities and research institutes around the world.

  • Ph.d. Faculty of Economics and Politics, University of Cambridge; 1985.
  • Diploma in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge; 1979. Development Economics.
  • M.A. in Economics, New School for Social Research, New York; 1978; Grade average: A. Passed
  • comprehensive MA examination with Honors.
  • M.Phil. in International Relations, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; 1977. Grade average: A
  • M.A., University of Allahabad, India; 1974-1976. Political Science
  • B.A. , University of Lucknow, India; 1972-1974; Economics, History, English Literature

Principal Areas of Expertise

Santhosh k. mehorta has worked worldwide in collaborration with colleges and students on a wide range of problems like...

  • Evaluation methods
  • Economic analysis of social sectors (rural development, health, education, nutrition)
  • Rural development
  • Labour and its links with employment; social protection; skill development
  • Public finance
  • Macro-economic policy
  • Policy advice and technical support to governments in areas of expertise
  • Research management

Professional Achievements

Santhosh k. mehorta has worked worldwide in collaborration with colleges and students on a wide range of problems.

his professional career began in

  • Aug 2009- Director-General, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, Planning Commission (in the rank of Secretary, Government of India)
  • Sept 2006-Aug 2009 - Head of Division, Rural Development, and Economic Adviser, Social Sectors, Planning Commission, Government of India (Sept 06-Oct 08);
  • Nov2008-Aug 09 -Head of Development Policy Division
  • Oct 2004 – Sept 2006 Senior Economic Adviser, Asia Bureau, UN Development Programme, New York; based in UNDP Regional Centre for Asia (at Bangkok) as of Jan 2005
  • 2002 Oct – Sept 2004 Senior Policy Advisor, Human Development Report Office, UN Development Programme, New York. This office writes the global flagship publication of the United Nations, the Human Development Report.
  • 1999 –2002 UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, Italy: Senior Economic Adviser – joint head of UNICEF’s research (Social and economic policy in developing countries)
  • 1991-1999 - Sept UNICEF Headquarters, New York:Jan. 1996-Sept 99 : Economic Adviser, Policy section, Division of Evaluation, Policy and Planning, .Jan. 1993-Dec. 1995: Economic Adviser, Office of Social Policy and Economic Analysis. Oct. 1991-Dec. 1992: Economic Adviser, Planning and Coordination Office in the Executive Office (i.e. Executive Director of UNICEF)
  • 1988-91 Associate Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Teaching mainly macro-economics of development; research. Supervision of research of M Phil and Phd students.
  • 1986-88 Fellow (equivalent to Reader), Research and Information Centre for the Non-Aligned and other Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi. Research on international economic issues, esp. related to Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 1980-85 Supervisory teaching (tutorials) of Cambridge University Tripos students in 2 courses: (i) Economic Development; (ii) Russian Economic Development since 1861. Also 'A' level Economics (Micro and Macro) at pre-university Colleges in Cambridge; October 1979 – 1984.

Prior to JNU, he was Director-General, Institute of Applied Manpower Research, the only autonomous research institute of the Planning Commission, with the rank of Permanent Secretary to the Government of India (2009-2014). He also earlier headed the Rural Development Division for the social sectors, Planning Commission (2006–08), and was a lead author of India’s 11th Five Year Plan (2007–12). He also led the team that wrote India’s Human Development Report 2009 and 2011.

Research and Advisory Experience

Santhosh k. mehorta was worked various policy related projects in India and other countrys. He also a Member of various commit in India and abroad

The Planning Commission (of the federal Government of India, GoI) prepares India’s Five Year Plans, and funds the policies and programmes of each Plan.

  • From September 2006 to August 2009 he was first Head, Rural Development Division, and also Economic Adviser, Social Sectors. Head, Development Policy Division, Planning Commission (till August 2009).
  • During this period, he worked closely with several Ministries of the GOI, and a multitude of State governments of India. he developed personal familiarity with most of the flagship programmes of the

GOI, especially, but not only, with the programmes of the Ministry of Rural Development (MORD)(which has a large number of large-spending flagship and other programmes).

Evidence on policy impact

Santhosh k. mehorta had some unique opportunities of serving on Expert Groups that impacted GoI policy-making.

  • he was the Member-Secretary, Steering Committee, Rural Development, Planning Commission, for the 11th Plan, and led the team that authored the chapters related to watershed development; land reforms; and food security and nutrition.
  • he was Member-Secretary of the Expert Group on ‘Development Challenges in Extremist-Affected Areas’, a landmark report to the Planning Commission, which became a basis of several policy initiatives by the Planning Commission for Naxal-affected districts; he was also a member of the report’s Drafting Committee.
  • he was a Member of the NC Saxena Committee on ‘Criteria to Identify the Poor’, and a member of its Drafting Committee. His co-authored research paper (in Economic and Political Weekly) became the basis of the methodology now adopted by the MORD in the current Socio-Economic Census to identify the poor, being carried out by the MORD, 2011-2013.
  • he was also a member of the Expert Group (chaired by Prof R Radhakrishna) created by MORD to revamp the self-help groups based programme, SGSY, and convert it into the National Rural Livelihoods Mission. NRLM has now been taken to scale all over India, as a much improved and better funded programme to promote women’s self-help groups.
  • By the Ministry of HRD, he was asked to lead the drafting of a National Vocational Education Qualification Framework, which has already been adopted by MHRD, and the concept paper on the subject has become the basis of the Cabinet Note on the NVEQF to Government of India’s Cabinet of Ministers. The Concept Paper has already led to the decision of the Central Advisory Board of Education to implement the NVEQF in the school and higher education system of the country.

National & international recognition in field of Evaluation

  • he is the only Indian economist on the international review panel of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation;
  • he was a member of the World Bank’s High Level Advisory Panel, Washington, DC, in 2011 to advise IDA/World Bank on criteria for selecting projects for conducting Impact Evaluations;
  • he was Invited by the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group to write a paper on state of evaluation in India – see publications.
  • he led IAMR in its bid to become the regional centre for South Asia on evaluation, a bid for which 23 other South Asian research institutes competed; IAMR came second in the bid, and was pipped by the Poverty Action Lab, led by MIT’s Prof Abhijit Banerji and Prof. Esther Duflo.
  • he was Invited to organise a panel for the South Asian Evaluators’ Conclave, Nepal Feb. 2013 and New Delhi Feb. 2011.

Research Projects and Policy Impact: 2009 – present

As Director-General of the only research institute of the Planning Commission, he have led policy-related research on human development, employment and skill development – which is the mandate of IAMR. The projects are listed below (and reflect the priorities of the renamed institute – the National Institute of Labour Economics and Skill Development), and have impacted policy:


  • Helped design and implement four research projects on the challenge facing India to generate nonagricultural employment. Sponsor: Planning Commission, Government of India.
  • Asked by the Minister (i.e. Deputy Chairman), Planning Commission to lead the writing of the Chapter on Employment for India’s 12th Five Year Plan.

Skill Development

  • Designed and implemented three major nation-wide surveys on the state of skilldevelopment/ vocational training in India, and the apprenticeship system prevailing. Also designed skill gap analyses – that are being used by National Skill Development Corporation.
  • Led the team that wrote the chapter on Skill Development for the 12th Five Year Plan.
  • Evaluation of vocational training led to programmes being re-designed.

Developing a National Database for Technical Human Resources

  • India needs a Labour Management Information System. At the request of MHRD (GoI) and the All- India Council for Technical Education, designed and implemented a system for collecting data on post-higher secondary certificate/diploma and degree holders in technical disciplines and management fields for India. The data collection system involves primary surveys of educational institutes, their students, and the latter’s employers, in a real-time, on-line basis.


Santhosh k. mehorta published many research books and paper. his books include:

India Human Development Report, 2011,Oxford University Press, Team Leader. ISBN 978-0-19- 807758-9

Labour and Informal Sector

  • Asian Informal Workers: Global Risks, Local Protection (Pakistan, India, Thailand, Philippines,Indonesia). Routledge, London, 2007 (Routledge Studies in the Growth Economies of Asia); pubd in India for South Asia market by Routledge, India. Coauthored and co-edited with Mario Biggeri. (7 of 12 chapters co-authored). ISBN 0-415-38275-0
  • Skills for Employability: Reforming Vocational Training in India ed., Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2013 (3 of 8 chapters co-authored)
  • Land Policies for Agricultural Growth with Equity: Transforming Agrarian Relations in Uttar Pradesh, ed. Santosh Mehrotra and Ajit Singh, Sage Publishers, Delhi, California and London forthcoming in 2013(3 of 16 chapters authored)


  • Universalizing Elementary Education in India: Uncaging the tiger economy:, (co-authored), Oxford University Press (India) 2005. ISBN 0195-67099 X. Cited by - 22
  • The Economics of Elementary education in India: The Challenge of Public Finance, Private Provision and Household Costs – edited, Sage Publishers,New Delhi, California and London, 2005. ISBN 0-7619-3419-7 Cited by – 17

Trade, Industry, and Growth

  • Policies to Achieve Inclusive Growth in India. Realizing the Demographic Dividend (sole author) Cambridge University Press, (manuscript in final stages, in discussion).
  • India and the Soviet Union: Trade and Technology Transfer, Cambridge University Press (Soviet and East European studies series), 1990 ISBN 0 521 36202 4 (published simultaneously by Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1991). Cited by - 31
  • African Economic Development: An Agenda for the Future, ed. V.R. Panchamukhi and S. Mehrotra, Research and Information System for the Non-Aligned and other Developing Countries, New Delhi, 1988.

Public Finance and Macro-economic Policy

  • Eliminating Human Poverty. Macro-economic and Social Policies for Equitable Growth, Zed Press, London, 2007 in both hardback and paperback simultaneously. Co-pubd in India for South Asia market by Orient Longman in 2008. Co-authored with Enrique Delamonica. Spanish translation: forthcoming in 2011, ISBN 978 1 842777725 Hb. Cited by - 30
  • Development with a Human Face. Experiences in Social Achievement and Economic Growth, S. Mehrotra and R. Jolly (eds), Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1997 (5 chapters co-authored). ISBN 0-19-829076-4

Cited by - 106 Paperback published by Oxford University Press, Oxford in March 2000.ISBN 0-19829657-6 Google Scholar: Cited by - 106 French translation: Le Developpemente a Visage Humain, Economica, Paris 2001).ISBN 2-7178- 4234-9


  • Asian Informal Workers. Global Risks, Local Protection (Routledge, London, 2007), and
  • Eliminating Human Poverty: Macro-economic and Social Policies for Equitable Growth (Zed, London, 2007).
  • The Economics of Elementary Education in India (Sage, 2006);
  • Universalizing Elementary Education in India.
  • Uncaging the Tiger Economy (Oxford University Press, 2005);
  • Le Developpement a Visage Humain (Economica, Paris, 2001);
  • Development with a Human Face.Experiences in Social Achievement and Economic Growth (Oxford University Press, 1997);
  • India and the Soviet Union: Trade and Technology Transfer (Cambridge University Press, 1990);