Rajiv Kumar is a well-known Indian economist, author of several books on the Indian economy and India's national security, with a number of publications. He is one of the country's leading columnist. He is presently a Senior Fellow, at the Center For Policy Research, (Delhi) and Chancellor of the Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics (A Deemed University, Pune). He is also the Founding Director of Pahle India Foundation, a non-profit research organisation that specialises in policy research and analysis. His book titled Modi and his Challenges was published by Bloomsbury in 2016.
He was Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (2010-2012); Member Central Board of Directors, State Bank of India (2009-2011), Director & Chief Executive of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (2006-2010); Member of Government of India's National Security Advisory Board (2006-2008, and 2012- 2015) and Chief Economist of the Confederation of India Industries (2004-2006). He worked in the Asian Development Bank, Manila from 1995 to 2005.
He joined the Government of India initially in the Ministry of Industries, Bureau of Costs and Prices (1989-1991), was a member of the Board of Directors of the SCCI as Ministry of Finance nominee (1993-94) and then worked as Economic Adviser in the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (1992 to 1995). He was a Professor at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi (1987-89) and Research Program Officer at ICRIER from 1982 to 1987. ;
He presently serves on: (i) Board of Management of several prestigious international and national institutions including, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Riyadh; (ii) Board of Governors, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and Asia (ERIA) Jakarta as GOI nominee; (iii) Board of Directors, Giri Institute of Development Studies, Lucknow; (iv) Board of Directors, Institute of Human Development, Delhi; (v) member of the GOI, Financial Sector Recruitment And Selection Committee. He has a D.Phil. in Economics from Oxford University, 1982 and a Ph.D. from Lucknow University, 1978.