John Mathai

John Mathai
John Mathai in 1949
Minister of Finance
In office
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Preceded by R. K. Shanmukham Chetty
Succeeded by C. D. Deshmukh
Minister of Railways
In office
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Preceded by Inaugural Holder
Succeeded by N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
Personal details
Born (1886-01-10)10 January 1886
Calicut, Madras Presidency, British India (now Kozhikode, Kerala, India)
Died 1959
Nationality British Indian (1886-1947)
Indian (1947-59)
Political party Indian National Congress
Alma mater Madras Christian College

John Mathai CIE (1886-1959) was an economist who served as India's first Railway Minister and subsequently as India's Finance Minister,[1] taking office shortly after the presentation of India's first Budget, in 1948. Mathai graduated in economics from University of Madras. He served as a Professor and Head in University of Madras from 1922 to 1925.[2] He presented two Budgets, but resigned following the 1950 Budget in protest at the increasing power of the Planning Commission and P. C. Mahalanobis. He was the first Chairman of the State Bank of India when it was set up in 1955. He was the founding President of the Governing Body of NCAER, the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi, India’s first independent economic policy institute established in 1956. He served as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Mumbai from 1955 till 1957 and then as the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Kerala from 1957 to 1959. His nephew, Verghese Kurien, was the father of India's White Revolution. Dr. John Matthai Centre,[3] Thrissur, located on the large plot of land donated by his family, is named in his honour. His wife, Achamma Mathai was an Indian social worker, women's rights activist,[4]Government of India honoured her in 1954, with the award of Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award for her contributions to the society,[5]

John Mathai was invested as a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1934,[6] and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1959.[7]


  1. Reflections on Finance Education and Society. Motilal Banarsidass Publication. p. 114. ISBN 9788120830752. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
  4. Bela Rani Sharma (1998). "Women's Rights and World Development". Sarup & Sons. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  5. "Padma Shri" (PDF). Padma Shri. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  6. London Gazette, 4 June 1934
  7. "Padma Vibhushan Awardees". The National Portal of India. Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
Preceded by
R. K. Shanmukham Chetty
Finance Minister of India
Succeeded by
Chintamanrao Deshmukh
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