Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: A Forgotten Economist

Dr B. R. Ambedkar had published four important works in economics; three books and one research article. These publications are Administration and Finance of the East India Company, The Evolution of the Public Finance in British India, The Problem of Rupee: Its Origin and Solution and Small Holding in India and their Remedies. These works deal with the centre-state relationship, public finance, monetary economics, foreign exchange mechanism and small land holing problems in India. 

Though all the Dr. Ambedkar's views and ideas on various economic matters are not relevant today but were important in those circumstances. However even today, some of his views on small land holdings, state-centre relationship, fiscal discipline, price stability, disguised unemployment and saving in the economy are still relevant. 
His views on farm sector and land holdings are relevant even today. He was of view that industrialization could be answer to the India’s agricultural problems. But at the same time he feared that the shifting pressure from land to industry would create necessity to enlarge the land holding which would lead to even fragmented land holdings in India. He was also worried about accumulation land in few hands. If we look at Indian today, his fears have turned into reality. And these realities are causing a lot of problems for India mainly in case of farm sector distress. 

Dr. Ambedkar also opposed any effort to consolidate land holdings as he found it to be flawed. He was perhaps worried about not only the accumulation of land in few hands but of wealth as well. And today it is turning into a nightmare for the whole political economic system as these don’t have any exact answer to these problems. Even if a few are there, those are fundamentally too flawed and biased to implement. Regarding the accumulation of land in few hand, he found the Hindu law of inheritance are successful in preventing plutocracy which would have been a case if primogeniture (the right of succession belonging to the firstborn child) has been imposed upon on. 

His economic views are various matters clearly indicate that he was not being beholden to any ideological dogma. Rather he was more pragmatic than anything else. For his it was the interest of people which was only concern. But today he has been limited to his political views of which a lot has been distorted to suit the political needs of vest interests.

- Rajeev Upadhyay

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