KOLKATA: Eminent scholar and Marxist economist Ashok Mitra, who also served as the finance minister of West Bengal and chief economic adviser to the Government of India, passed away this morning after protracted illness.
He was 90 and his wife predeceased him ten years ago.
Born in Bangladesh, Mitra taught at the Lucknow University after completing master in economics from Benares Hindu University.
He got his Ph.D from Netherlands.
He worked for the World Bank, taught at the Delhi School of Economics and IIM Calcutta.
Mitra was finance minister of West Bengal from 1977"87 when Jyoti Basu was the chief minister.
In the mid-1990s he became a member of the Rajya Sabha and was chairman of the Parliament's Standing Committee on Industry and Commerce.
He was the Chief Economic Adviser to the government of India from 1970 to 1972 when Indira Gandhi was the prime minister.
Mitra was also associated with the prestigious Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) journal in its formative years.
Besides writing several books, he penned several columns in newspapers and was known for his scathing analysis of contemporary economics and socio-political issue.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled the death of Mitra.
She tweeted, "Saddened at the passing away of noted economist, former Finance Minister of Bengal and former Rajya Sabha MP, Dr Ashok Mitra. He had a long career with the World Bank, IIM Calcutta and as Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. Condolences to his family & well wishers".
CPI(M) leader and former Left Front minister Surjya Kanta Mishra in his condolence message said Mitra was a great Leftist thinker and his death was an irreparable loss.