Obituaries : Lakshmi Kant Jha; Economic Adviser in India

Associated Press

Economist Lakshmi Kant Jha, who helped shape India's economic policy and was Indian ambassador to the United States, died Saturday in the city of Pune, the state radio reported. He was 74.

Jha, who had been Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's adviser on administrative reforms since July, 1985, died of cardiac arrest in a private hospital, the All India Radio said. He was also a member of the upper house of Parliament.

He had been suffering from kidney and lung ailments, his personal assistant, Harbans Lal, said.

President Ramaswami Venkataraman said in a message: "The nation has lost a man of outstanding qualities of head and heart and a deep dedication to the cause of the country's progress."

Jha served in several ministries after joining the Indian Civil Service in 1936. He was India's ambassador to the United States from 1970 to 1973.

He was the chairman of the United Nations Group of Eminent Persons on Multinational Corporations for a year in 1974. He also was an alternate governor of the World Bank from 1960 to 1964.

Jha, a native of the eastern state of Bihar, played an important role in shaping India's economic policies and published several books. He drafted India's industrial policy resolution of 1956 which pushed the concept of an economy combining public and private sectors.

Jha studied at the Benaras Hindu University and later at Cambridge University under the renowned economist, John Maynard Keynes.

He is survived by his wife, Mekhala, and three children.

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