The Department of Economics became a truly full-fledged department in 1914, with the appointment of Herbert Stanley Jevons (son of the marginalist, W.S. Jevons) as the first Professor of Economics and Head. A post-graduate course was also introduced the same year, so that the fledgling department offered both, under-graduate and post-graduate courses. Origins are like riddles which may never be completely solved, and the Department of Economics is no exception. However, some sources also point to the year 1908, when the teaching of Economics as a subject commenced at the under-graduate level, though it remained under the Head of the then History Department. In view of the above, 2014 is taken to be its Centenary Year of the Department. Prof. Jevons also founded the Indian Journal of Economics, in the year 1916, the first economics journal ever to be published in India. This is the oldest existing journal of Economics and is regularly published, even today. In an article, published in its first volume in 1916 and available even today in the Department, Prof. Jevons wrote that his academic purpose was “teaching to think and to do, rather than of teaching only to know”.
This legacy of his was faithfully adhered to by stalwarts like Professors C.D.Thompson, A.R.Burnett-Hurst and S.K.Rudra, Mr. B.P.Adarkar, and later by Professors J.K.Mehta, P.C.Jain, S.L.Parmar, Mahesh Chand and many others. Faculty members such as Prof. H.S. Jevons, Prof. C.D. Thompson, Prof. S.K. Rudra and Prof. J.K.Mehta became Presidents of the Indian Economic Association Conferences of 1922, 1934, 1946, and 1968 respectively. Former faculty of the Department who became Presidents were Dr. M.V. Mathur (1967), Prof. Gautam Mathur (1978) and Prof. P.D. Hajela (1980). Only two faculty members chaired a Technical Session of the I.E.A. conference namely Prof. P.D.Hajela (1968) and Prof. Prahlad Kumar (2002). Allahabad had the proud privilege of hosting I.E.A. conferences in the years 1920, 1929 and 1940.
The Department at present has thirty three faculty positions, of which 19 are currently in place, consisting of 10 Professors, 2 Associate Professors and 7 Assistant Professors. It also has a Planning and Development Unit, created through an endowment by the Planning Commission, Government of India, with the renowned development economist, Jean Dreze as the Honorary Chair Professor. The UGC also selected the Department under Special Assistance Programme (SAP) in 2004-05, DRS- I level. It was further renewed in 2009-10, DRS-II level. The Department looks ahead further to convert it into a Centre for Advanced Study. The Department offers a UGC - approved one year employment - oriented Post Graduate Diploma in Foreign Trade Practices and Procedures (DFTPP) since 2002-03. The Departmental library has more than fifteen thousand books and it subscribes 35 national and international journals, along with about 40 journals received under exchange basis through the Indian Journal of Economics. It is in the process of modernization through digital cataloguing. The Department also has a Statistical/Computer laboratory for the research scholars. Prof. P.C. Jain and alumni of the Department contributed significantly to the establishment of the Departmental library in the present form.
The Department recently formed an Alumni Association and the first Alumni meet was organized on Feb.14, 2014, under the Chairmanship of Prof. Jagdish Narayan. The meet was a grand success and it was attended by more than hundred alumni. We plan to hold more meetings of the Association in the years ahead. The Department is presently celebrating its Centanary Year and many academic/cultural programmes are slated for the year. Prof. Prahlad Kumar is currently the Head of the Department.