Dr Shaibal Gupta, IGC India’s Bihar programme head, sadly passed away on 28 January 2021. He was one of India’s pre-eminent social scientists, widely regarded as the leading expert on the economics and politics of Bihar.
Dr Gupta was the founder of the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), a respected think tank that has contributed enormously to the prominent role research now plays in policymaking in Bihar. Shaibal understood more than anyone that strong relationships between researchers and policymakers were crucial to promoting effective evidence-based policymaking – and to building sustainable reforms. He also understood the importance of informed public debate and the need to translate research for a broader audience, regularly writing op-ed pieces making the case for important policy reforms.
He was instrumental in developing the IGC’s engagement in Bihar, leading our DFID-funded programme for over 10 years, and more recently leading our partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His drive for using evidence to inform policy has fundamentally changed the culture within the government in Bihar, both through ADRI and the IGC. He valued the independence of the advice that the IGC brought to the table in Bihar, and championed our model relentlessly, leading to the IGC becoming the ‘go-to’ place for policymakers seeking impartial advice. The respect afforded to him by both the policy and research communities in Bihar highlights the central role he has played in shaping better policies for the people of Bihar.
Shaibal was a valued colleague, an inspiring mentor, and a supportive friend to many in IGC who worked closely with him. He will be sadly missed.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.