Prof. K. T. Shah was a prominent economist, advocate, socialist and Constituent Assembly member. He passed away 55 years ago, in March, 1953.
Before joining the Constituent Assembly, Shah practiced as an advocate, and went on to become Professor of Economics at Bombay University. He was appointed secretary of the National Planning Committee in 1938. Prof. Shah was an alumnus of London School of Economics, and the opposite candidate of Dr. Rajendra Prasad in the first presidential elections of Independent India. In the constituent Assembly, Shah was a participatory and engaging member of the Advisory Committee as well as the Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights.
Shah repeatedly argued for the inclusion of the words “secular, federal and socialist” in Article 1 of the constitution. However, Dr. Ambedkar refused these amendments, stating that the constitution should not set in stone the social and economic structure of the country- this prerogative lies with the future elected representatives. Shah further argued for the president being barred from holding any private property, so that, “the President should be free from any entanglements, that the President should be free from any interest other than that of the State as a whole, that he should be open to no temptation except the desire to serve his country to the best of his ability.”A staunch supporter of secularism, Prof. Shah moved many other amendments, including a ban on preaching or imparting of any religious knowledge in any educational institution; and a ban of religion in any form affecting the workings of the state.
While turning down an opportunity to investigate exchange banks, Shah is noted to have remarked, “Why worry about exchange banks or monetary problems[?] We will build up an economy that will supersede anything that Marx could imagine. We will do away with exchange altogether!”
Outside of the constituent Assembly, Prof. Shah is known for his insightful writing, having penned books such as Sixty Years of Indian Finance, Splendor That Was India, Insurance, and Promise That Was China.
Read more about him here.