Jairam Ramesh is an Indian economist and currently a member of Rajya Sabha, belonging to the Indian National Congress. He is an alumna of Eminent institutions such as IIT Bombay from which he graduated in 1975 with a B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering, and Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, from where he did a Master of Science in Public Policy and Public Management in 1977. Mr. Jairam Ramesh joined the Doctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, planning to study technology policy, economics, engineering, and management, as part of the newly established interdisciplinary technology policy programme, but family exigencies required him to return to India leaving the program incomplete.
Mr. Ramesh has had a successful political career. He served in the Finance Ministry of the Central Government from 1990 to 1998. He was also Deputy Chairman, State Planning Board, Government of Karnataka and on the Economic Advisory Council of Andhra Pradesh. In 2004 he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh. Subsequently, he was inducted into the cabinet under Dr. Manmohan Singh’s administration. He was re-elected in 2010 to Rajya Sabha and was made the Minister of Rural Development and Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation in 2011. In 2014 he became Member, Committee on Health and Family Welfare Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. In his capacity as Minister, he banned the use of bulls as performing animals, which later led to the ban of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu in 2016. He was elected to Rajya Sabha for the third term in 2015. In 2018 he was given charge as Member, Select Committee of Rajya Sabha on the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill.
Jairam Ramesh is a member of a board which provides strategic policy advice to a key UN agency on environmentally-sound technologies for developing nations. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board giving strategic policy advice to the Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the programmatic direction of International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC). He is a founding member of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad and is a member of the International Council of the New York-based Asia Society. Ramesh has been a Visiting Fellow and Affiliated Researcher of the Institute of Chinese Studies.
Mr. Jairam Ramesh is also a prolific writer. He has been a columnist for the Business Standard, Business Today, The Telegraph, Times of India and India Today, sometimes writing under the pen-name “Kautilya”. He has authored several books, among them, Making Sense of Chindia: Reflections on China and India (2005) with a Foreword by Strobe Talbott, Mobilising Technology for World Development (as Co-editor, 1979), To the Brink and Back: India’s 1991 Story (2015), One History, New Geography (2016), Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature (2017), Intertwined Lives: P.N. Haksar & Indira Gandhi (2018), and A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon (2019).
A Prime Minister and a naturalist