K.N. Raj or Kakkadan Nandanath Raj is the economist who played an important role in Indias planned development, drafting sections of Indias first Five Year Plan, specifically the introductory chapter. Raj was then merely 26 years old.
Raj moved to Delhi University, where he was Professor of Economics and also Vice-Chancellor (from October 1969 to December 1970), spending a total of 18 years there. During that time, he was instrumental in setting up the Delhi School of Economics (DSE).
After returning to Kerala from Delhi in 1971, Raj set up the Centre for Development Studies (CDS)] at Thiruvananthapuram, an institution that soon acquired an international reputation for applied economics and social science research. The work that Raj and his colleagues did for the United Nations in the early days of the CDS, and published in 1976, helped shape the contours of what later came to be called the "Kerala model" of development - the co-existence of low per capita income and very high physical quality of life indicators. Raj once wrote philosophically: "I think that most of the things that welfare economists talk about are those that are obvious to all of us, especially the common people.
He was awarded Padma Vibhushan award in 2000. He died on 10 February 2010 at a private hospital, Trivandrum.