Economic thoughts of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

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Economic thoughtS of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, in the context of Indian Economy


Dr. M. N. VENKATARAMANAAssociate Professor.Dept of Agril. Economics. PRESENTED BY :


Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bengaluru.

IntroductionDr. Ambedkar: The EconomistScholarly Contributions To EconomicsContributions To Public FinanceContribution To Monetary EconomicsAnalysis of Indian Economic ProblemsEconomics of Caste System And UntouchabilityAgriculture and PovertyAmbedkars water resources policiesAmbedkar And Women EmpowermentDr. B. R. Ambedkar And Mahatma Gandhi, InterfaceConclusion

Flow of presentation2

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (14th April 1891 6th december 1956) (B.A., M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc., Barrister-at-Law., L.L.D., D.Litt) Education: Ph.D in Economics, From Columbia University. USA.

D.Sc. in Economics, From London School of Economics.

Barrister-at-Law at Gray's Inn, London


Maharaja GaekwadofBaroda, who opened an opportunity for Indians to study at Abroad.Shahu Maharaj, who financially supported Dr. Ambedkar, to continue his education in LSE.


1918: Professor of Political EconomyNominated Member of Bombay Legislative Council-in 1926. His remarks on Budgets were of a great treasure for taxation policy and public works for Inclusive development of the people.

As a labour leader, he struggled for safeguarding rights and welfare of workers.Member of Viceroys Executive Council ( Labour, Water, Power and Mineral Resources)

1st Law Minister of Independent India. Father of Indian Constitution.



Ambedkar is my Father in Economics, His contribution in the field of economicsis marvelous and will be remembered forever..! -Dr AmartyaSen

Ambedkar's economic thought, vision not fully understood

"the more we recall Ambedkar's thought, in the context of issues currently faced by India, the more we come to respect his vision and his approach to inclusiveness. - The PM, Narendra Modi.


1. Intellectual slavery: Indians most often quote foreign authors neglecting contributions of Indians2. Shadowing effect of his other magnificent works(law, politics, religion, sociology, etc.). Rejection of these Theories (Narendra jadav) e.g. Dada Bhai Navaroji and Mahadev Govinda Ranade are often quoted rather than Dr B.R.Ambedkar. Other reasons (Ambirajan)1. Fault of the Indian political leadership in the post-independence era.2. Fault of the Dalit community for having projected him exclusively as its own leader.Reasons for Neglecting Ambedkars Economic Thoughts6

Ambedkar as an Economist 1st phase: as a Student and Professor of Economics. In the form of dissertations and articles. (1915-1923)

2nd phase: As a professional economist in addressing Indias economic problems and in managing economic affairs of the country. (1923 1956)Ambedkars Contribution to Indian Economics7


a. Administration and Finance of the East India Company. (M A thesis submitted to Columbia University )

b. The Evolution of Provincial Finance In British India.(Ph. D thesis submitted to Columbia University)


Ambedkar provides a historical review of the changes in administration and finance of the East India Company during 1792-1858 and depicts how those changes led to the suffering of the Indian people at the hands of the British rulers.Key findings:

Administration and Finance of the East India CompanyCreation of Public Debt of India even though having budget surplus for 36 years out of 60 years. Through, drain of wealth of India , as a continuous tribute to pay dividends for the Companys share holders.The Indian debt created in India > The home bond debt created in England.


ContdHuge Land Taxes:-54 per cent of total revenue and which was also highly fluctuating to the extent of 80-90 per cent in some provinces, whereas in contrast to this only 10 per cent in England for years up to 1798. Government expenditure:-military expenditure accounted for as much as 45-64 per cent of the total budgetHe also points out that Manchester city in England spent on a single item - water, a larger amount of money during 1834 than what the EIC had spent on all kinds of public works in India. Trade Policies:-He also pointed on imposition of prohibitive duties on Indian manufacturer exports to England as against negligible duties on British manufacturer imports to India. However, cotton exports from India to Great Britain from free from duty etc which is discriminatory.10

ContdView on Expenditure.

Finance of a country are to be judged from the view point of developmental expenditure and among the developmental expenditure public works (roads, canals, electricity, telegraph, etc.) should receive prominent position.Over all view:-In entirety he condemns the entire fiscal system of the east India Company By considering all these, Dr Ambedkar points that the Indian public debt is done largely by the government of India, i.e., EIC as it was entirely due to creation of war, etc11

Ph.D. Dissertation submitted to Columbia University.It reveals evolution of Centre- state financial relation in British India from1833 to 1921.1833-1871: Imperial System of Government.

Failure of this system lead to evolution of Provincial Finance. THE EVOLUTION OF PROVINCIAL FINANCE IN BRITISH INDIAUnder the imperial system, the expenditure budgets were prepared by the provincial government but the responsibility for finding the ways and means for financing them rested on EIC.12


In provincial Finance system Ambedkar discusses three forms of systems, namely Budget by assignment Budget by assigned revenues Budget by shared revenueUnder each type Ambedkar discusses how were the revenues and expenditure system and at the end discusses what ought to be the system of relationship related to financial responsibility in different Departments.This book is the first of its kind dealing with the most discussed topic in the present context - the state and Centre financial relationship.Contd13

Bombay Provincial budget (1927-28):-Addressing Finance MinisterMost essential requirement of a good revenue system is that it should be reliableIt doesnt matter whether that revenue system brings in large revenue or small revenue. More than the revenue, the variation is crucial, which has to be the least. But, Land revenue and excise, the two top parts of Budget, have large variationsAddressing tax payers The revenue system of the presidency is inequitable and indefensibleEvery farmer, whatever may be his income, is brought under the levy of the land tax. But under the income tax no person is called upon to pay the tax, if he has not earned any income during the yearUnder the land revenue system a person is taxed at the same rate, whether he is an owner of one acre of land, or a jahangirdar or an inamdar. Provincial Budgets14

Remarks on excise dutyThis was not meant for the purpose of enabling the government to raise revenue, but the monopoly was enacted . e.g.. Government accepted policy of prohibition of alcohol consumption and measures undertook by the government such as rationing.


Contemporary Relevance of Ambedkars Contribution To Public Finance

Replacement of Planning Commission by NITI Aayog, to enable increased participation of States for greater planning.

Provision of Finance Commission in the Constitution.


The Problem of Rupee; its origin and its solution, and statement and evidence before the royal commission on Indian currency and finance in 1926.

In 1st part of the book Ambedkar discusses how currency evolved over the period from 1800 to 1920, through Silver Currency, gold standard and gold exchange standard.

In the 2nd part, he discusses an ideal system of currency system to maintain stability and to save people from evils of Inflation. MONETARY ECONOMICS17

Ambedkar Vs J. M. Keynes


Gold coins themselves used as currency or medium of exchange.

The affairs of mankind with the deal of Nature- creates automaticity.

But flexibility is a double edged weapon. It is bad if there is reckless issue of currency by an irresponsible government .Leads to inflation with negatively effects the interest of common man.Indian Currency and Finance-1914

Paper currency backed up by gold reserves is used as a currency.He recommended gold exchange standard for a developing country like India.

There is virtue of flexibility, so the Govt. can alter the availability of money.18

Ambedkar and formation of RBIThe memorandum submitted to the Hilton young commission in 1925 a managed currency is to be altogether avoided when the management is to be in the hands of the government.

In the case of the government the chance of mismanagement is greater because the issue of money is authorized and conducted by men who are never under any present responsibility for private loss in case of bad judgment or mismanagement. The Commission members found Dr. B. R. Ambedkars book "The Problem of the Rupee- Its origin and Its Solution an invaluable reference tool and the Central Legislative Assembly eventually passed these guidelines as the RBI Act 1934Relevance of Ambedkars concept E.g.. Issue of 1,08,000