ASSOCIATION OF ECONOMISTS, Presently known as the ASSOCIATION OF ECONOMISTS OF TAMIL NADU was born in 1980. This association also functioned for some years in the name of Association of Economists of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (Regd.S.No.22 of 1982).

The origin of the Association goes back to 1975-76, when a group of college teachers in and around Tiruchirappalli, collected around Fr. M. Sebastian SJ., Prof. and Head of Department of Economics, St.Joseph’s College and organized themselves under his leadership into an ECONOMICS CLUB for professional advancement. This group met periodically discussed papers presented by members of the club on issues of National and International interest.

It was generally accepted that one great weakness of the college teachers of Tamil Nadu was that they were poorly equipped in quantitative tools. To get over this deficiency, Fr. Sebastian took the lead to organize four consecutive summer course in this area. About forty to fifty college professors drawn from all over Tamil Nadu benefited from this summer programmes immensely. It was during these meetings, that the majority of the members expressed a desire that there should be an academically oriented organization for college professors, and they urged Fr. Sebastian to take the lead and organize and Association based on St.Joseph’s College.

In April 1980, the first annual conference of this loosely formed Association was held at St.Joseph’s College. The topic chosen for discussion was “Budgetary Measures to Contain Inflation.” About 25 members attended the conference and the Association was christened, “ASSOCIATION OF ECONOMISTS.” It was decided that a Constitution should be formulated and passed by the General Body. In the course of the year, a draft of the Constitution was drafted and circulated among members for comments. In the next conference, held in the campus of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, the constitution was discussed and passed by the General Body. In this second Annual Conference, the topic discussed was “National Wage Policy.” Over 50 professors attended the conference. Membership fee was fixed at Rs.20/-per annum. The conference was held in October, 1982. It was during this year that the Association came to be registered.

The founding group was made up of the following:

  • Rev. Fr. Dr. M. Sebastian SJ
  • Dr. S. Varadarajan
  • Dr. C. Thangamuthu
  • Dr.M. Ramadas
  • Dr. A. Mariaraj
  • Dr. D. Rathnasamy
  • Prof. Arul Jeganatharaj
  • Dr. M.H. Abu Baker
  • Dr. M.R. Nagarajan
  • Dr. Thiruvenkatachary
  • Dr. Sangili
  • Prof. Susairaj

From 1982 onwards the Association started to gain strength both in membership and in organization. In 1983, the membership rose to 150, advanced to 20 in 1984, and reached the peak of 400 in 1990. Todays strength is 637 as life members.

The Objectives:

The objectives are enunciated in the Constitution enclosed. The original Constitution was reformulated in 1991.

Annual Conferences:

The main activity of the Association is to organize an annual conference in which papers prepared for the conference specific topics announced earlier are presented and discussed by the participants. Besides the annual conferences, occasionally regional seminars are also arranged. In 1985, heeding to popular request, a BI-ANNUAL Journal by the name: PENINSULAR ECONOMIST was started. We have been able to complete thirty four volumes and the thirty fifth volume is getting ready.


Rev. Dr. M. Sebastian Stanislaus SJ 1978 to 2004 Madras University started the first Department of Economics in India in 1916. Gilbert Slator, a student of Alfred Marshall, was the first Professor of Economics of Madras University. St. Joseph’s College had the privilege of having in its faculty of economics, another student of Marshall, Fr. Carty. Right from the beginnings, the affiliated colleges had competent faculty. However, due to historic accident, research degrees were offered only by the universities and Presidency colleges. In Economics, among the three presidency Colleges, only the Presidency College, Calcutta seemed to have succeeded in producing successful doctoral scholars before 1950s.

Bright starts of Madras Presidency including P.S. Lokanathan, John Mathai, R.N. Poduval, P.J. Thomas and P.K. Shanmugam Chetty took their doctoral degrees from England. The first successful doctoral scholar of Madras university was Sarada Raju, who submitted her thesis, I believe, in 1936. Between 1937 and 1960 there were a few more theses, including that of B. Natarajan on National Income analysis, which I believe earned for him a D.Litt. the quality of those theses was extremely high. But between 1960 and 1975, the university department did not produce any successful doctoral candidate. I believe that only three persons obtained doctorates from the Madras University by independent study in this period. Fr.Sebastian and Sr. Helen Vincent had to go out of Tamil Nadu State to do their doctoral research in the 1970s.

Our academic character then was determined mainly by the British educational environment from which it borrowed heavily. In the Ox-Bridge tradition, professorship and research fellowship were highly valued. But the degree of doctorate did not get any special significance. Keynes, Maurice Dodd and many of the famous names of Ox-Bridge were not Ph.Ds. however they guided many Ph.D candidates! But in the 1960s the doctoral – mania came to India through America, where it was implanted by the Germans who would proudly proclaim their title as Doctor-Professor.

In the early 1980s there were many aspirants for the Ph.D. degree in our region, especially among the college teachers. The UGC fanned the fire by offering incentives for those who had successfully completed search degrees. After a lag, the administrators and politicians too had joined the bandwagon. Unfortunately, the avenues and facilities for pursuing research were woefully inadequate. Many of the aspirants were totally un-aware of even the basic requirements for pursuing research in social sciences. It was in that dark hour; Fr. Sebastian appeared here in the Tamilnadu scene to throw a beam of light to those who were growing in the dark.

Rev. Dr. Sebastian Stanislaus SJ was Born on 13 January, 1930. No information about his family background and his early formative years. Indicated below are a few landmarks in his later career:

1964-64: he stated his academic career as an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Loyola College, Chennai. He was also the Assistant Director, and very soon the Director of the Loyola College Hostel that time.

1966-68: Transferred to St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli with the same designations and duties. In addition, he also was made Director of Youth Activities.

1968 -72: he was granted study leave and joined the University of Bombay as Doctoral Research Fellow. His study investigated the question whether the Indo- soviet trade was beneficial to India or not? More specifically, did India buy dear and sell cheap to the Soviet Union. He successfully completed his thesis. Incidentally, Dr.Thimmiah was his contemporary at the Bombay University.
Dec.1, 1973: Unlike most of the search scholar here, Fr. Sebastian immediately decided to publish his thesis result in Economic and Political Weekly. In his thesis, Fr. Sebastian has successfully demolished J.r. Carter’s thesis that the Soviet Union practiced price discrimination in all its trade relations with development countries exploiting their economically weak bargaing positions stated differently trade with soviet –union was not beneficial to developing countries. Indo – Soviet trade Commenced in 1950-51. There were four trade countries agreements between 1950 and 1970. Fr. Sebastian agrees that there might have been some truth in carte’s thesis with reference to all developing countries .but he has established categorically by analyzing 22 major import items and 60 per cent of the exported items that India sold dear to and bought cheap from Soviet Union. In other words, the Indio Soviet trade was really beneficial to India.
1972: He rejoined St. Joseph’s College as Assistant Professor.
1973-76: He was Professor in-charge of the Economics Department at St. Joseph’s College.
1976-1988: He served St. Joseph’s College in various capacities: He was Prof. and HOD Economics, Dean of Arts Humanities, Director of Research Department of Economics, Director of Joseph’s Institute of Business Administration, Student’s Counselor in the hostel, Controller of Examinations, Director of Library, and Principal and Secretary during 1985-1988.
1.06.1988: he retired from official teaching 1988 till his death on the evening of 26th January 2004, he continued to serve the cause of education in various capacities: as Director of Research in Loyola College, as Controller of Examination in St. Xavier’s College, as a Visiting Professor to a US Fordham University. He had the privilege of visiting Rome and having an audience with the pope.

He had completed three post doctoral research projects. 1979: Supply response of farmers in TN to changes in Prices. 1981: Impact of agricultural technology on farm income distribution in Trichy. 1982: Rising trend in land values and its impact on rural economy of Tamil Nadu. He had successfully guided 12 Ph.Ds and several more M.Phils. Dr. Ramadoss Former MP Probably was his first Ph.Ds, Dr. Padmanapan, Dr. Mariaraj, Dr. Abu Becker, Dr. Rathinasamy, Dr, Durairaj, Dr. Nagarajan, Dr.A. Peter and Rev. Dr. A G Leonard SJ are, also among his Ph.D. Scholars He had published five books. More than a dozen independent papers in journals. More than thirty join papers mostly with his doctoral students and few with Dr. Varadarajan and Seven articles to Tamil encyclopedia.

His articles were published in various journals including:

  • Economic and Political Weekly
  • Eastern Economist
  • Social Action
  • Indian Economic Alamanac
  • Rural Development Review
  • Asian Journal of Economic and Social Studies
  • Political Economy Journal of India
  • Peninsular Economist

His research themes indicate his extensive range. They include: India’s foreign trade supply response of farmers in Tamilnadu, Relationship between farm technology and inequality of income federal Finance, Planning, Basic needs and rural development, Land values and land use, Globalization, Dalit Christians and their development and Gandhian economics He took his academic responsibilities seriously. He was deeply involved in the formulation, Preparation and execution of COHISSIP Programmes He made serious spade work for getting autonomy for St. Joseph’s College. He organized the Diploma Programme in the JIBA He was an examiner for post – graduate and doctoral courses for many Universities and Colleges. He was a member of the Board of Studies in Many Universities

Crowning Achievement : Founding of Association of Economists Founding of Peninsular Economist Proving that afflicted Colleges can, and should conduct research on par with University departments For that purpose, he understood the necessity for educating the faculty and students on the necessity of employment quantitative techniques. 1979 : He founded the Association of Economists of Tamil Nadu (AET). He was its first President and Treasurer Soon he followed it by founding the journal “Peninsular Economist” mainly to provide an avenue for the publication for research analysis of the members. He got the Association of Economists registered and also helped frame its constitution



Serial no Dates Venue Themes
1 12th April ,1981 St.Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli Budgetary Measures to combat inflation
2 December 1981 Tamilnadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore National Wage policy
3 23rd & 24th October 1982 Tagore Arts College Pondicherry Sectoral Analysis of Taxation
4 25th & 26th September 1983 Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur Rural Poverty and unemployment
Special Conference 2nd & 3rd June 1984 St.Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli Gunnar Myrdal’s Asian Drama as it is today
5 8th & 9th December 1985 Aditanar College Tiruchendur Agro – rural industries with special references to Tirunvelveli District Central state Relation with special references to Finance Commissions
6 8th & 9th 1986 Sri Pushpam College , Poondi , Tanjore Agrarian Reforms VII Five year Plan
7 24th & 25th January 1987 Jamal Mohamed College , Tiruchirappalli Long – term fiscal policy & child Labour
8 20th & 21st February 1988 Tamilnadu Agriculture University , Coimbatore Role of economic development and trade unionism in textile industry
9 7th & 8th January 1989 Loyola College Madras Fisheries development in India Environmental issues in India and Human Resources
Special Conference 8th October 1988 One day seminar at Hotel Savera India Economic Policy
10 10th & 11th March 1990 Central University Pond cherry Pattern of Agriculture growth: An Analysis of problems and prospects.
Urbanization and industrialization growth of service sector and regional development.
Fiscal policy & economic growth: issues and problems.
VIII Plan: target, Priorities and possibilities.
Development experience of Pondicherry.
Fiscal policy and economic growth: issues and problems.
Environment and pollution
Human resources development and unemployment.
Role of women in labour force participation.
Sociology of economic development, Economists or Society: Mirror or lamp?
11 22nd & 23rd June 1991 Annamalai University Marshall and his relevance to the present day.
health grounds Plight of the girl child labour in India.
Privatisation .
Economics of South Arcot District .
12 18th & 19th January 1992 Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai External economic relations.
Economics of southern districts.
Economics of public choice.
Water Management.
13 2nd & 3rd January 1993 Bishop Heber College & Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli Health Economics.
Economic ideas of Dr.Ambedkar.
New Economics Policy.
Economic aspects of Tanjore, Trichy, Dindigul, Pudukkottai Districts.
14 19th & 20th November 1993 Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur Economics of Structural Adjustments, capital Formation in Agriculture, Economics of Higher Education, Economic Development of Tamil Nadu
15 12th & 13th November 1994 Sri Vasavi College, Erode Natural Resource use Problems in Tamil Nadu.
SAARC Problems and Perspectives
16 6th & 7th January 1996 A.V.C. College Mannampandal Monetary issues, Regional Development, Economy of Nagai & Thanjavur district
17 25th & 26th January 1997 S.T. Hindu College Nagercoil New frontiers of Welfare Economics, trade and Development, Kanyakumari Economy
18 8th & 9th January 1998 Jamal Mohamed College, Tiruchirappalli Local finance, Theory of public choice , Economics of Tiruchirappalli District
19 20th & 21st March 1999 Annamalai University Sustainable Development, Food Security Economy of Cuddalore District
20 1st & 2nd April 2000 Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai 9th Five year Plan, Women Issue, Economy of Madurai.
21 20th & 21st January 2001 Karpagam Arts & Science College, Coimbatore Economic Reforms in Capital Market Social Sector in GlobalisationEconomy of Coimbatore.
22 15th & 16th December 2001 Arul Anandar College Karumathur Water resource Management, Second industrial Revolution, Revolution of Economic Reporting.
23 14th & 15th December 2002 Sri Pushpam College, Poondi Tanjore WTO & Its Implication, State Finance, Cropping Patten & Irrigation.
24 23rd &24th January 2004 MDT Hindu College Tirunelvel Health sector in India Issues in environmental management Subaltern studies Economy of Tirunelveli Region .
25 18th & 19th December 2004 St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli Trade in Services Innovative technology for rural Development Economic Ideas of Pr.Brahmananda Regional Economic issues .
26 28th & 29th January 2006 A.A College for Women Walajapettai, Vellore Dt. Revival of Cooperation in Tamilnadu, Interlinking of Rivers, Appraisal of 12th finance commission report, Economic of Vellore Region .
27 27th & 28th January 2007 Theivanai Ammal College for Women , Villupuram. Foreign District investment in Redial Trade in India, Insurance sector in India, Economic Growth & Human Development, Economy of Villupuram Region .
28 22nd & 23rd December 2007 The American College, Madurai. Value Added Tax, Health Economics, Special Economic Zone, Economy of Madurai Region .
29 22nd & 23rd November 2008 PSG College of Arts and Science , Coimbatore. Economics of Climate Change, New Developments in Banking, Eleventh five year plan –Employment Potential and Agricultural Prospects, Economy of Coimbatore Region.
30 9th & 10th January 2010 National College Tiruchirappalli. Development Ideas of Gandhi and Amartya Sen, Global Financial Crisis, Economy Tiruchirappalli Region .
31 8th & 9th January 2011 Aditanar College of Arts & Science, Tiruchendur. Natural Resources Management – Land and Water Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, Economy of Tiruneleli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari District .
32 19th & 20th November 2011 Gobi Arts & Science College Gobichettipalayam . Natural Resources Management – Land and Water Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, Economy of Tiruneleli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari District 13th Finance Commission Recommendations: An Evaluation, Public Private partnership in Social Sector, Economy of Coimbatore Region .
33 27th & 28th October 2012 Periyar University, Salem. Poverty Issues, Crisis of Agricultural Sector, Vision Tamil Nadu 2023, Economy of Salem Region (Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri).
34 14th & 15th December,2013 VelloreInstitute of Technology, Vellore. Education and Development, Energy Crisis in Tamil Nadu, Economy of Vellore Region (districts of Vellore, Thiruvannamalai, Kancheepuram & Tiruvallur).
35 01st and 02nd November, 2014 Vivekanandha College, Agastheeswaram, Kanniyakumari. Capital Goods Sector in Tamil Nadu, Social Capital and Development, Comprehensive Study on Tamil Nadu Economy and Regional Economy of the districts (Kanniyakumari, Thirunelveli and Thoothukkudi).
36 28th & 29th November 2015 Kandaswami Kandar’s College, Velur. Economic Reforms Since 1991, Information Economics, Tamil Nadu Economy, Regional Economics (Karur and Namakkal Districts).