Arun Shourie is among India’s best-known commentators on current and political affairs.
Arun held several significant ministerial portfolios in India. He was responsible for privatising several public-sector companies and is known as the “privatisation czar” of India. As Minister of Communications and Information Technology, he implemented policies that enabled the Indian telecommunication industry to grow rapidly and quadrupled the use of cellular phones.
Arun Shourie studied at St. Stephen’s College in Delhi and then obtained his doctorate in Economics from Syracuse University, USA. Among other portfolios, he held the office of the Minister of Disinvestment, and of Communications and Information Technology in Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet. He was acclaimed as a “Star of Asia” by Business Week in 2002, as “The Business Leader of the Year” by The Economic Times jury for his pioneering and dogged work on privatization. In a poll of Indian CEOs, conducted in early 2004, he was acclaimed as “The most-outstanding Minister” of Mr Vajpayee’s Government. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the Magsaysay Award and one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Bhushan.
He has been an economist with the World Bank, and Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express. He is widely regarded as the initiator of Investigative Journalism in India. The International Press Institute, Vienna, acclaimed him as one of 50 “World Press Freedom Heroes” whose work has sustained freedom of the press in the last half-century.
Arun Shourie has written numerous books on a variety of topics ranging from economic reforms, constitutional law, modern Indian history, religious fundamentalism, governance in India, to national security.
He has used the funds that were made available to him as a Member of Parliament to endow two Centres of higher learning at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur – the Centre for Bio-Engineering and Life Sciences and the Centre for Environmental Sciences. Between them, the two Centres have over 20 Labs. In the Centre for Bio-Engineering and Life Sciences, at the moment around a hundred and thirty students are undergoing graduate and undergraduate training and 69 are completing their doctoral work. The Centre has already been awarded Rs. 25 Crore as grants for research by a range of national and international institutions. The buildings of the two Centres are regarded as being amongst the greenest buildings on Indian campuses: they use 40 percent less power than comparable buildings. The Environmental Sciences building has been awarded the Green Globe Foundation Award in the category of Best Practices in Green Design and Architecture.
He is the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Indian Statistical Institute, the leading institution in its field in India.
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