ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Remembering T L Sankar (1928­–2018)

Power for the People

T L Sankar was a remarkable Indian Administrative Service officer who combined administrative capability with involvement in academia. He was behind many reforms in the energy sector, but his focus was always on people’s participation and equity.

Ideas very often are ahead of the times and are revived when the time is ripe. Even if individuals pass away, their ideas are remembered and do get implemented. T L Sankar was one such person who had conceptualised several reforms in the energy sector, some of which are still on the drawing board. Sankar passed away on 26 December 2018. Popularly known as TLS, from the 1957 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) batch, he was a remarkable person who combined administrative capability with involvement in academia. He was among the early pioneers of the IAS, and had pointed out the existence of state failures based on his experience as a government servant. His approach to markets was cautious and, more importantly, people-oriented. Sankar (2002) wrote a seminal piece, “Towards a People’s Plan for Power Sector Reform” for EPW.

As the director of the Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE) he was supportive of EPW and suggested developing an index for researched articles on select subjects for it. Open to deliberations, arguments, and debates, the IPE grew from a decrepit institute funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, to emerge as a leading think tank from Hyderabad. It was a platform for debates and deliberations, with some of the finest minds in academia and bureaucracy present at the IPE. For young scholars, interactions with Venugopal Reddy, C Rangarajan, Vijay Kelkar, Nitin Desai, David Chambers, and Khalid Sham, to mention a few among those associated with the institution, were invaluable learning experiences.

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Updated On : 11th Feb, 2019

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