Nitin Desai

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Nitin Desai (born 1941) is an Indian economist. He was Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations from 1997 to 2003.

Early life and academic career

He studied at St. Xavier’s High School and Elphinstone College in Mumbai. He received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Bombay in 1962 and, in 1965, earned a Master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Desai lectured in economics at the University of Liverpool and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom from 1965 to 1970. Returning to India he worked as a consultant for the then nascent Tata Economic Consultancy Services from 1970 to 1973. His major work here was on the economic analysis of CIDCO’s Twin City project.

Indian government and international career

Desai began his government career in 1973 in the Planning Commission of the Government of India where he served in various capacities. His principal work there was the establishment of a system of cost-benefit appraisal of public investment projects. He was also involved in energy policy work and was on the Board of Indian Oil Corporation. He was the member-secretary of the National Commission on the Development of Backward Areas. In 1983 he served concurrently as Secretary of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.

From September 1985 to March 1987, he served as Senior Economic Adviser for the World Commission on Environment and Development...
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