Narpat Singh Jodha, noted economist and President of INSEE from 2004-06 passed away on February 18th, 2020. He received his Master’s degree from the Delhi School of Economics and his PhD from the University of Rajasthan. He started his career with CAZRI Jodhpur in 1963 and worked with IARI New Delhi and various other government institutions before moving to different CGIAR Centers in India and overseas including ICRISAT Hyderabad and IITA East Africa. He worked as agricultural economist in South Asia as well as East and West Africa.
Dr. Jodha was foremost among the pioneers of work on common property resources, livelihoods and rural poverty in India. His seminal 1986 paper (published in the Economic and Political Weekly) , in particular, provided strong empirical support on the contribution of common property resources to rural livelihoods. It impacted the way in which rural poverty was theorized and written about for decades to follow. Later he moved from the arid and semi-arid tropics to focus on mountain regions as head of Mountain Farming Division at ICIMOD Kathmandu. He was briefly with the Environment Resources Division at the World Bank before rejoining ICIMOD and working on different aspects of mountain development in various capacities. Wherever he was, his work always continued to be rooted in a fieldwork based understanding of reality.
We at INSEE will remember Dr. Jodha for his lasting contributions to it as President in its early years. He shepherded it painstakingly and presided over the Conference held at IGIDR, Mumbai in 2005. He also worked closely with SANDEE, the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, mentoring researchers at its workshops. He was honoured as a Fellow of World Academy for Art and Science in 2001. He was also President of the International Society for the Study of the Commons (IASC) during the period 2004-06 and Conference President of the Indian Society for Agricultural Economics in 2008.
Apart from his professional accomplishments, his soft- spoken nature, his humility and his gentle spirit left a deep mark on all who were privileged to meet him. He will be remembered both as a great professional and as a genuine human.
Past President, INSEE