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Dr. Dhananjayrao Ramchandra Gadgil (10 April 1901 – 24 May 1971)


Dhananjayrao Ramchandra Gadgil a foremost researcher and economist who contributed towards forming India’s economic plans and who promoted co-operation for rural development was born on 10th April 1901 at Nasik in Maharashtra.

He finished his early schooling at Nagpur in Maharashtra, the place originally his ancestor belonged. Prof. D.R. Gadgil received a Master of Arts degree and a Master of Literature degree from the University of Cambridge, England as well as honoris causa Doctor of Letters degree.
He had very broad intellectual interests ranging from sociology, public affairs and history to biology and astronomy. He had in-depth knowledge in the fields of economic policies, planning and development, the Indian democracy, Wage control, Labour issues, Agricultural Economics and Co-operation. He studied Urban Planning and had prepared developmental plans of the cities of Mumbai and Pune. He was actively involved in the United Maharashtra struggle and was the Chairman of the panel that prepared the developmental plan for United Maharashtra.

To facilitate the study of politics along with economics, he established the Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics in Pune in 1930. He was the Vice Chancellor of Poona University for some time too. He was the Vice-President of the Central Planning Commission from 1967 to 1971. He was a member of the Planning Commission during the fourth Five-Year Plan from 1969 to 1974. He was also on the Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of India. He also was the President of the Indian Economic Council and the Indian Society of Agricultural Economics. From 3 March 1966 to 31 August 1967, he was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha.

The idea of a cooperative was first mooted at a conference of irrigators and presided over by eminent economist Dr. D.R. Gadgil in 1945. It was only by the end of 1948 that the first cooperative society to be set up at Pravaranagar was registered. He actively supported Dr. Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil in establishing the first co-operative sugar factory at Pravaranagar, Loni, Ahmednagar district. He worked as the President of this sugar factory for some time. The resounding success of the Pravara resulted in the government taking a decision in 1954 of granting industrial licenses for sugar industry to co-operatives alone.

Maharashtra was privileged to benefit from his thoughts and knowledge in the areas of rural industry, principles of de-centralization, the role of the Reserve Bank in rural development and co-operative credit supply.

Prof. Gadgil, a visionary who formed India’s economic policies played a key role in the development of the co-operative movement in Maharashtra. His work and contribution in the areas of long term economic research and planning and in the development of co-operatives in Maharashtra is regarded as fundamental.

He served as President of National Cooperative Union of India, New Delhi, an Apex cooperative organization of India. As a tribute to and memory of the great co-operative leader and philosopher, the Institute has been named after him, as Dhananjayrao Gadgil Institute of Co-operative Management.