Amartya Sen is an Indian economist and philosopher. He has been awarded the Nobel Prize (1998) and the Bharat Ratna (1999) for his contribution to welfare economics. Born in November 1933, he experienced the Bengal famine of 1943 in which millions died. This left an everlasting impact on him and later led him to study the causes of famine.
Welfare economics requires creating and evaluating economic policies keeping in mind the welfare of the society and its individuals. Sen strongly believes in welfare economics and individual rights, and devoted his career to such issues. He is called “conscience of his profession”. His work inspired economists and researches to concentrate on issues of wellbeing of the community.
Sen created methods to assess poverty using parameters to improve the economic condition of the downtrodden. He also worked extensively on the issue of famine in India. Sen argued that there was adequate food supply during the Bengal famine. The problem lied with the purchasing power of the poor that was hit because rural labourers lost jobs. This led to widespread starvation.
His immense work and noble views made policy makers, organizations and governments to pay attention for finding ways to restore income of the poor and to maintaining stable food prices. Sen believed that economic growth could be achieved only by dealing with issues related to education and public health first and foremost.