The IUP Journal of Applied Economics
An Interview With professor S mahendra dev

Article Details
Pub. Date : Oct, 2020
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Applied Economics
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJAE51020
Author Name : GRK Murty,
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Economics
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 31

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Abstract

Born in an agricultural family in Tummapudi village of Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, Dr Mahendra Dev had his elementary schooling in his native village and later went to a Zilla Parishad School of a nearby village by walking about 6 km every day. His father, Sri Sanjeev Dev, an aesthetic person, was a multifaceted genius, known for his extensive writings on fine arts, philosophy, psychology, etc., both in Telugu and English. Eminent personalities from different walks of life used to visit his home engendering animated discussions on various social issues, besides literature. These discussions had not only created awareness in young Dev about various socio-politico-economic issues that haunted the country but also kindled passion in his mind for studying social sciences.


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Taking advantage of the freedom granted by his father to choose his own educational path, an enthusiastic Dev, much against the then prevailing trend of choosing science stream among the student community of coastal Andhra, studied Intermediate with economics, civics and history in Telugu medium. As a natural progression, he, finishing BA with economics as the main subject, joined Nagarjuna University for studying MA economics and stood first in the university. Later he studied M.Phil at Delhi School of Economics. As a part of the course, working on the topic, "Productivity in Organized Industry in AP in Comparison with All India Scenario", he estimated labor productivity, total factor productivity and determinants of these productivity ratios and submitted his thesis under the guidance of Dr K L Krishna.

Then registering for PhD in Delhi School of Economics, he switched over to studying regional variations in agriculture and poverty in India under the guidance of Dr K Sundaram. Working for almost eight years on the topic, he not only identified labor productivity in agriculture as the cause for the regional disparities in poverty but also identified three non-capital constraints, namely, moisture stress, poor soil quality and tribal concentration as the underlying reasons for low agricultural yield in 82 districts out of the bottom 100 low-yielding districts of India. This detailed investigation had obviously met with appreciation from the top-notch economists of the day including Prof. Sukhamoy Chakravarthy, Y K Alagh et al. and policy makers. Then he went to Yale University on postdoctoral fellowship and honed up his econometric skills further, besides updating his knowledge in different facets of economics.

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