Shankkar Aiyar – Keynote Speaker

Journalist, Analyst, Columnist and Author

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Shankkar Aiyar Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • The Interface of Economics and Politics
  • News Neutrality
  • Economic Slowdown
  • India in Crisis
  • Public Policy



  • English
  • Hindi


Shankkar Aiyar is a prominent India-based political economy analyst, columnist and author. His path-breaking book “Accidental India: A History of the Nation’s Passage through Crisis and Change” has fetched him national acclaim as a public intellectual.

Accidental India, an in-depth study of the political and economic history of modern India, examines the country’s transformation through the arresting angles of seven game changers, one for each decade since 1947. The book argues and establishes that the turning points in the country’s history were not the result of foresight or planning but serendipitous consequences of major crises that had to be resolved at any cost. As a best-seller Accidental India has received fulsome praise from academics, policy makers and business icons.

In 2017, Shankkar Aiyar published his second book, “Aadhaar — A Biometric History of India’s 12 Digit Revolution”. Listed as a bestseller on public policy for over a year, Aadhaar–A Biometric History chronicles the setting up of the world’s largest biometric identity system. Released by the President of India and received by the Prime Minister of India, Aadhaar is an unusual dramatisation of contemporary history and of the political and economic changes, has been published and is globally available in five languages. The third book, “The Gated Republic – India’s Public Policy Failures and Private Solutions”, is scheduled for release at the end of February. Aiyar is working on his fourth book which looks at demographic, technological and climate change on politics and public policy.

As a political economy analyst, Aiyar specialises in the interface of economics and politics. He has worked with the Indian Express and was Managing Editor at India Today. He has covered every election since 1984 and the political economy since 1991. A journalist for over three decades – his 1991 scoop on a bankrupt India pledging its gold reserves made national headlines – he has won awards and been at the helm of a national newspaper and newsweekly.

Shankkar Aiyar has authored a study on India’s Socio-Economic Fault Lines and its 100 worst districts. His investigation on 25 years of political corruption, Smoking Guns, is part of an anthology. He has been a Wolfson Chevening Fellow at Cambridge University where he studied the Lifecycles of Emerging Economies.

Aiyar writes for The New Indian Express, Bloomberg Quint and Amar Ujala besides other newspapers on invitation on how politics impacts people, governance and the economy. He is invited to decode the interface of politics and economics for Indian and international audiences.

Shankkar Aiyar is a Visiting Fellow at IDFC Institute where he is focussed on economic imperatives and political impulses that drive public policy.

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