Dr. Indraprasad Gordhanbhai Patel (1924-2005) was born on November 11, 1924, in Vadodara, Gujarat. He studied Economics at the University of Bombay, and then obtained a doctorate from King’s College, Cambridge. He taught at the University of Bombay and then joined the International Monetary Fund. In 1954, he became Economic Advisor to the Minister of Finance; this started him on a distinguished career in economic policymaking. He was the fourteenth Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (1977-1982), after which he joined IIMA as Director.
Throughout the 1970s IIMA had been very active in public sector management and Dr. Patel’s brief tenure was marked by a continued focus on this sector—but with an international dimension being introduced; for instance, an international seminar in 1983 on management of public sector enterprises provided a forum to bring together cross-country experiences. The focus on the traditional long-duration programmes, applied research and consulting continued. During his short stay at the Institute, Dr. Patel developed a reputation for encouraging young faculty to take up research by asking for their writing and commenting on it.
IIMA had been quite relaxed in enforcing admission-related norms after the students were admitted; for instance, students used to take their time to submit their grade sheets confirming that they met the 50% marks eligibility condition. But for the 1983-85 PGP batch, the Institute, for the first time in its history, became strict in verifying the eligibility criteria at the time of registering the admitted students. That year, unfortunately, the university environment was very disturbed and the distribution of grade sheets had been delayed—many students experienced difficulties in producing evidence that they had indeed got 50%.
The beginnings made on the student exchange front were strengthened with a new arrangement with ESSEC, France under which five students spent a term in 1982-83—this turned out to be one of the longest and productive partnerships that the Institute has had; the partnership’s silver jubilee was celebrated in 2008 in New Delhi with a conference.
The year 1982-83 also saw IIMA becoming a member of SPIC-MACAY, with the event marked by a recital by Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Zakir Hussain; this, in a sense, was a tribute to Prof. H.N. Pathak, who retired from the Institute in January 1983 and who had been encouraging the Institute community to explore Indian classical arts and heritage for close to two decades. A new round of campus development, mainly staff housing and transit houses for faculty members was initiated.
Dr. Patel cut short his tenure at the Institute when he accepted the post of Director at the London School of Economics (1984-1990), thus becoming the first South Asian to head a higher education institute of repute in the United Kingdom. He later returned to IIMA as Chairperson of the Board of Governors for one term, 1996 to 2001. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1991. Dr. Patel passed away on July 17, 2005.