New Delhi: In 2015, history was created in Kashmir. For the first time, the BJP had made inroads into the valley and was about to form a government with the PDP. The alliance was about to be cemented. That’s when a name, associated with finance and economics, started making its way into newspaper headlines. The name was Haseeb Drabu.
Known to be a ‘sympathiser’ of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in its initial years, Drabu, a former Jammu and Kashmir Bank Chairman and a loyalist of then PDP chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, was appointed by the party to do the maths with the BJP over a possible government formation in the state.
Drabu, a noted economist, formally joined the PDP in 2014 and contested the state elections from his home constituency Rajpora. After the alliance was finalised, Drabu was given the finance portfolio – a ministry that was earlier manned by stalwarts such as Abdul Raheem Rather, Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Tariq Hamid Karra.
With a doctorate in economics from JNU under his belt, Drabu started his career with the Government of India in 1990, first with the Perspective Planning Division of the Planning Commission, then as a consultant to the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister.
He then joined the media and became an editor at Business Standard, where he set up a research bureau. Drabu has also been a regular commentator on economic issues and used to write a fortnightly column for business daily Mint.
He also briefly served as a consultant to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). After the 2002 state elections, when a PDP-Led Coalition state government came to power in Jammu and Kashmir, Drabu was appointed as its economic advisor. He planned the tax reforms, methods of expenditure compression and attempted to reduce the debt stock of the state government. In the same year, the PDP-Congress presented its zero-deficit budget — a brainchild of Drabu.