Lakshmi Chand Jain

Lakshmi Chand Jain (born 1925) is an Indian economist, most known as a Gandhian activist and a freedom fighter. He has also remained member of the Planning Commission, Indian High commissioner to South Africa and one of the commissioner on the World Bank-backed, World Commission on Dams (WCD). He played an important in the foundation of Indian Cooperative Union as well as All-India Handicrafts Board and remained secretary of both. As part of the ICU, he helped set up the Central Cottage Industries Emporium and Super Bazaar cooperative stores.

He was awarded the 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service.

As a young graduate at the time of independence from Britain he took part in the Quit India movement and around partition of India, he worked to organize relief for destitute refugees created by the partition. He was put in charge of the refugee camp at Kingsway Camp in North Delhi. After independence, he helped introduce cooperative societies for farming and cottage industries into rehabilitation camps, instilling self-reliance and hope. As a volunteer organiser with the Indian Cooperative Union (ICU) he joined the rehabilitation project in Faridabad, 20 km from Delhi of refugees from Pakistan.

Jain later helped Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay organize the Indian Cooperative Union and applied its principles to the handicrafts industry. As secretary of the All-India Handicrafts Board, he fostered decentralized production and directed training, technical services, and loans to India's struggling self-employed spinners, weavers, carpenters, and metalsmiths. He applied modern marketing techniques to promote handicrafts sales abroad and organized the Central Cottage Industries Emporium to expand the market at home. He championed artisans against mechanization and mass production, helping millions of independent craftsmen carry on traditional livelihoods in security and pride and assured the survival of precious arts and skills.

Jain became an expert on development, applying unique organizational skills to wed theory to practice. In 1966 he led the establishment of a chain of consumer cooperative stores where those living in cities could buy food, clothing, and tools at a fair price. In 1968 he co-founded a service-oriented consulting firm. By seeking the advice of farmers and workers, Jain and his like-minded colleagues helped government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) design modernization projects that were relevant and effective.

Jain worked with and on a number of development agencies as well as government committees and boards, such as the United Nations' World Dam Commission

Personal life
Jain's wife is the economist Devaki Jain; the couple have two sons and now settled in Bangalore. In 1989, Jain received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, for "his informed and selfless commitment to attack India's poverty at the grass-roots level".

• "Development of Decentralized Industries in India—Progress and Perspectives." Gandhi Marg. 2, no. 6 (September 1980): 307-29.

• "Obituary: Kamaladevi." Economic and Political Weekly, 26 November 1988, 2520-21.

• "Poverty, Environment, Development: A View from Gandhi's Window." Economic and Political Weekly, 13 February 1988, 311-20.

• Power to the People: Decentralization Is a Necessity. Policy Issue no.1. Hyderabad: Academy of Gandhian Studies, 1980.

• "A tale of Two Programmes: The Mahatma's and Mrs. Gandhi's." Times of India, 26 November 1983.

• (with B. V. Krishnamurthy and P. M. Tripathi) Grass without Roots: Rural Development under Government Auspices. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1985.

Further reading

• Naiptya Natak, Lakshmi Chand Jain (Hindi), biography

• Arati B. "A Crusader for Job Protection." Hindustan Times, 2 August 1989.

• Chattopadhyay, Kamaladevi. The Glory of Indian Handicrafts. New Delhi: Clavion Books, 1985.

• Indian Cooperative Union. Community Development: A Pilot Project under Non-Official Auspices. New Delhi: Indian Cooperative Union, 1961. Reprinted 1979.

• Indian Cooperative Union. Cooperative Law in India A Disquisition. New Delhi: Indian Cooperative Union, 1964.

• Industrial Development Services: A Profile. New Delhi: Industrial Development Services Private Ltd., 1986.

• Interview by James R. Rush. Tape Recording, 2 September 1989. Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Manila.

• 'Gandhi Works, Always' (Interview with Shri Lakshmi Chand Jain)

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