Gurdev Singh

Gurdev Singh


Prof. Gurdev Singh was born in a farming family in the village Akalgarh near Muktsar in the erstwhile Punjab on June 12, 1944. He attended a number of schools to complete his schooling in 1961. He did his graduation in Agriculture at Khalsa College Amritsar in 1965 and masters at Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana in 1969. While writing his master's thesis he was appointed as Marketing Intelligence Officer in November 1968 in a Ford Foundation funded research project on marketing of wheat, maize and groundnut. The job involved collection of information on daily arrivals, prices, purchases by different agencies, storage, dispatches by rail and road etc. in two markets (Doraha and Khanna) in Ludhiana district. After about 15 months he left this job to join Agco Group (CMA now) at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad as a Research Associate in February 1970. The job of a Research Associate at the Institute was to assist the faculty supervisor in his research and teaching activities. He was, thus, involved in formulating research proposals, questionnaires and schedules, collection of data and its analysis with the help of research assistants, drafting reports and preparation of teaching materials.

In 1977 he was sponsored by the Institute for Ph.D. programme at the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign (USA). After completing his Ph.D., he rejoined the Institute as Assistant Professor in CMA in October 1979. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1985 and to Professor in 1988 and remained with the CMA till his superannuation in 2006. However, he was reappointed till he left the Institute in July 2010.

During the span of over four decades at the Institute he was involved in research, teaching, consulting and academic administration. He regularly taught a compulsory course on Agricultural Finance to PGPABM (earlier SPA) and developed and offered elective courses to PGPABM. He also developed and taught a compulsory course on Finance for Agricultural Development for FPM (Agri) and a part of compulsory course of Economics Area to First Year FPM. He handled some modules in Management Development Programmes (MDPs) of the CMA, developed a couple of MDPs (Seed Production Management, Managing Contract Farming and Social Forestry) and helped colleagues in developing some other MDPs. Over time he produced nearly 100 teaching notes and cases for the courses and MDPs he participated in. A large number of them are registered with publication division of the Institute.

His areas of research included Agricultural Finance, Farm Inputs (seed, fertiliser, machinery - tractors), Contract Farming, Commodity Systems (cotton, sugar beet, edible oils, coconut, cassava, Ratanjot, rubber, resins, silk, poultry) and Social Forestry. He completed more than 20 research projects in these areas. Some of these projects involved other CMA and non-CMA faculty. Those research projects were largely funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. In addition, he carried out consulting assignments in areas of his interest singly or jointly with other colleagues for national and international agencies in the public private and cooperative sectors. He also offered in-company programme jointly with other colleagues.

Research at CMA was basically applied research. My contributions to management of Indian Seed Industry and Contract Farming are pioneer in themselves. We produced five research outputs on Seed and two on contract Farming. They are well received by practitioners. Our contribution to WTO and competitiveness of Indian Agriculture, agricultural finance and commodity systems were for helping the policy makers. The findings and issues raised were imbibed in the teaching materials used in PGABM and FPM (Agri) courses and MDPs. In addition, we developed concepts and modeled growth in use of fertilizer and operating capital use on farms with different levels of investment under technology constraint (given).

CMA had the practice of bringing out research outputs in the form of Research Monographs for wider circulation to get feedback. In the eighties it started publishing them as books. Even some consulting outputs were published with the permission of the funding agency. Prof. Gurdev Singh has more than 20 such outputs of which 14 are in the form of books. CMA gets royalty on sale of these books by the publishers. In addition, he published more than 80 research papers in professional journals, books and economic dailies.

In the area of academic administration, he acted as Chairman of CMA and Chairman of Library Committee, Chairman of Welfare Committee for one term each. He was CMA Research Coordinator and Publications Coordinator for a number of years. He coordinated FPM Agri in the year of its inception and the activities of Social Forestry Group at CMA. Over time he coordinated a number of MDPs of CMA.

(Bio provided by Gurdev Singh in 2019)

Date of Birth: June 12, 1944