Relevance of Economic Theories of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in Today’s Economic Scenario

As a politician, Dr. B. R. Ambedker is one of the most prominent leaders of India. His contribution to the field of political science in Indian context is path-breaking. The visions and ideals, he preached and practiced, were based on equality, inclusion, participation and eradication of untouchablity. He wanted to see an equal and inclusive society. His ideals and visions relating to political science generated widespread discussion across spectrum but his economic theories have largely been ignored by people in general and in academics in particular although by training and practice he was an economist for years prior to his legal and political career and wrote a number of reports, papers and books on economic issues like The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India, Ancient Indian Commerce, Administration and Finance of the East India Company, The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution and many more. But all his contribution towards economic theories had been in shadows of his contribution to theories relating political science. 

Whatever discussion that has taken place till now had focused on the nature of economic theories that Dr Ambedkar argued for. Some economists term him as a monetary economist for his contribution towards Rupee and exchange rate. A few term his as a socialist economist because of his arguments and support for the mixed economy, state ownership and inclusion of each and every section of society in economic endeavor. Also there are a few economists who recall him as a free market economist because of his global prospective and pro-market ideals mainly for works like ‘The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution’ (1923) and ‘The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India: A Study in the Provincial Decentralisation of Imperial Finance’ (1925).

All these claims about economic ideals of Dr Ambedkar are to some extent true but tell one sided story. Basically Dr Ambedkar was pragmatic political economic thinker whose goals were to achieve inclusive growth and development and his political thinking and economic thinking were in tandem. No discussion can take place in isolation. Rather it has to consider both his economic and political thinking to reach at a conclusion that can give a holistic picture.

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