Nirupam Bajpai is senior development advisor, Center for Sustainable Development, The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. He is also a Member of the Scientific Committee of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the U.N. Millennium Project on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015. Between July 2010 and August 2014, he served as the founding director of the Columbia Global Centers | South Asia.
Over the last two decades, he has been working at different U.S. universities beginning at the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1992; Harvard University from 1995 to 2002 and since July 2002 at Columbia University. Prior to his arrival at Columbia, Bajpai worked for seven years at Harvard University, most recently at the Kennedy School of Government’s Center for International Development including leading the Harvard India Program and prior to that at the Harvard Institute for International Development, Harvard University. During this period, he also worked at MIT's Media Lab Asia as a Senior Fellow.
A macroeconomist by training, Bajpai’ s research interests include the links of health and development, economic geography, globalization, emerging markets, economic development and growth, global competitiveness, and macroeconomic policies in developing and developed countries. His work focuses on economic policy reform in India, China, sub-Saharan Africa and the South and East Asian regions. Currently, he is an Associate Editor of the journal Asian Economic Papers, published by MIT Press and is also on the Editorial Board of the journal Economic Change and Restructuring published by Springer.
Bajpai is considered to be a leading economic advisor of his generation. For almost two decades, he has been studying the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and globalization and advising governments, including working towards combining economic development with environmental sustainability to promote the mitigation of anthropogenic climate change.
Since October 1999, Bajpai has had the high honor and privilege of continuously advising three Prime Ministers of India, beginning with the Honorable Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1999-2004; then advising the Honorable Manmohan Singh from 2004-2014 and currently to the Honorable Narendra Modi. Cutting across party lines, this is a very rare distinction for Dr. Bajpai. He has also advised several cabinet ministers of the NDA and UPA governments, including the Ministers of Health and Family Welfare, Finance, Commerce and Industry, and Information Technology among others.
On a request from the Government of Gujarat, between 2003-05, Bajpai led a team of social and physical scientists of Columbia University to conduct research and advise the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi and the officials of the State Government of Gujarat on a variety of issues relating to the sustainable development of the State.
Additionally, on a request from the Planning Commission of India, Bajpai led a teams of social scientists to undertake policy-oriented research for the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh on "Scaling up Services in Rural India" wherein project teams worked with Rural Communities in India.
Bajpai serves on the advisory Board of the World Economic Development Congress based in New York and is a leading Asia specialist for the Asian Economic Panel and the National Bureau of Asian Research.
He is widely published and is the author or co-author of dozens of scholarly articles on a variety of issues relating to economic reforms in developing countries. He has written extensively on macroeconomic policy and management focusing on fiscal policy, and on the role of trade and foreign direct investment policies on growth and development. He co-edited a volume entitled “India in the Era of Economic Reforms” along with Jeffrey Sachs and Ashutosh Varshney published by Oxford University Press. In 2010, he co-authored a volume entitled “Improving Access and Efficiency in Public Health Services” along with Jeffrey Sachs and Ravindra Dholakia published by Sage Publications.
Bajpai is the recipient of several honors and awards. On the eve of India’s 59th Republic Day on January 25, 2008, Bajpai was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India, which is a civilian national honor bestowed by the Government of India. In the category of ‘Literature and Education’, Bajpai is the youngest awardee of the Padma Shri ever since the Padma Awards were instituted in 1954 having been conferred the award at the age of 45.