KOLKATA: Ashok Mitra, a Marxist economist who became the first finance minister of Left Front-led government in West Bengal, died on Tuesday. He was 89.
Mitra moved to West Bengal from Bangladesh following the partition of India in 1947. He completed graduation from the University of Dacca and postgraduation from Benaras Hindu University. Mitra was also an alumnus of the newly established Delhi School of Economics in the early 1950s. He later went to the Netherlands to pursue a doctorate from the Institute of Social Studies. Mitra was became the Finance Minister of West Bengal from 1977–87 during the first and second terms of the Left Front.
Ashok Mitra, an eminent Indian Marxist economist and politician has passed away today. He was Finance Minister of West Bengal from 1977–87. We express our condolence to his family. pic.twitter.com/67oyz1Ok7f
— CPI(M) WEST BENGAL (@CPIM_WESTBENGAL) May 1, 2018
“A noted economist and Left intellectual, Ashok Mitra was Finance Minister in the first and second Left Front Governments in West Bengal under Jyoti Basu. He also represented the CPI(M) in the Rajya Sabha. Ashok Mitra was also in the West Bengal State Committee of the Party for some time,” said the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) in an official statement.
“He was deeply committed to the cause of the working class and toiling masses of the country. Ashok Mitra also served as Chief Economic Adviser to Government of India,” said CPI(M). A prolific writer, Ashok Mitra contributed regularly to various dailies and magazines on several topics.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to express grief:
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
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 1, 2018
Condolence: Ashok Mitra. A prolific writer, he contributed regularly to various dailies & magazines. And his writings were not only limited to economics and politics. Of late he had been editing a Bengali magazine Aarek Rakam. We convey our profound grief https://t.co/ej6XL226jU
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) May 1, 2018
He taught at several places including the University of Lucknow, the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East in Bangkok, Thailand, the Economic Development Institute in Washington, DC and Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C).
He also worked for the World Bank and was the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, and then Chairman of the Agricultural Prices Commission of the Government of India.