Who Is Gita Gopinath’s Husband Iqbal Dhaliwal, IAS Topper Now Heading MIT’s J-PAL

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Gita Gopinath's husband, Iqbal Dhaliwal is a UPSC topper and a gold medal-winning IAS officer who left his job and moved to the US. He now heads MIT's Poverty Action Lab.

Indian-American Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist at International Monetary Fund (IMF) will succeed Geoffrey Okamoto to become IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director. This will be the first time a woman will head the position. She was also IMF’s first female chief economist.

“I am grateful to God that Gita has the best life partner,” said Vijayalakshmi, Gita’s mother. “My son-in-law has ensured that Gita gets back from work to a loving family each day. It is not easy for a woman to succeed without the support of her husband.”

It was during Gita’s time at Delhi School of Economics that she met her future husband Iqbal Singh Dhaliwal. They would travel together to college everyday by the same bus and subsequently went to Princeton, where they both pursued their Master’s degree.

Here are 10 things to know about Iqbal Dhaliwal:

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Iqbal Dhaliwal with former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, Gita Gopinath, Nobel Laureates Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee.
  1. Iqbal was born in Bengaluru in 1972 to a father who was in the Border Security Force and a mother who ran a school. He has one sister, who is a doctor.
  2. Iqbal studied at Mothers International School in Delhi and was also head boy of the 1989 batch. He spent 14 years of his student life at the same school.
  3. He went on to do his BA in economics from the University of Delhi, followed by an MA in economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and an MPA in International Development from Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
  4. Prior to attempting the civil service examination, Iqbal worked as a teacher at Sant Memorial Public School in Gurgaon from May 1994 to July 1996.
  5. In June 1994, Iqbal gave his first UPSC CSE attempt and secured an All India Rank (AIR) of 229 and was allocated the Indian Civil Accounts Service Group A. However, since he wanted to better his rank, he attempted the examination again in 1996 and secured an AIR of 1, and was allocated the Indian Administrative Service branch in the Tamil Nadu Cadre.
  6. He served as an IAS officer for five years before he quit and moved to the US.
  7. He was also the recipient of the Director’s Gold Medal at the National Academy of Administration (Now called Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA).
  8. In 2019, the Government of Punjab awarded him the Guru Nanak Devji Achievers Award for his contributions to the field of economics and poverty alleviation.
  9. He received the Dean’s Fellowship at Princeton University and a gold medal for standing first in the college in his undergraduate program.
  10. Iqbal is currently the Global Executive Director, Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab based in Massachusetts.

(Edited by Yoshita Rao)

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