Updated: May 16, 2021 2:02:36 pm
Sunil Jain, Managing Editor of The Financial Express, whose insightful and unsparing commentary on business and economy was often a lightning rod for many an intellectual and policy debate, passed away Saturday at AIIMS due to post Covid-19 complications.
He was 58 and is survived by his wife Namita and son Abhinav.
Over the last 24 hours, Jain suffered multiple organ failure, said doctors at AIIMS, where he was admitted on May 3 with his oxygen levels dropping. He had a cardiac arrest earlier today, was revived, but passed away after a second cardiac arrest around 8.30 p.m.
That day, he said in what was his last tweet: “Thank you everyone for all the help I don’t even know whom all to thank. Am in AIIMS emergency now. So I’m safe hands.”
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President Ram Nath Kovind said Jain was known for his candour and forthright views. “It was a treat to read his columns. After his untimely demise, his absence will be deeply felt in the world of journalism. My condolences to his family and friends,” he tweeted.
“You left us too soon, Sunil Jain,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I will miss reading your columns and hearing your frank as well as insightful views on diverse matters. You leave behind an inspiring range of work. Journalism is poorer today, with your sad demise. Condolences to family and friends. Om Shanti.”
“Sunil’s passing has numbed us all in the Express family,” said Viveck Goenka, chairman, Express Group. “His razor-sharp intellect and uncompromising integrity defined his editorial leadership.
His energy and passion for questioning all wisdom, his commitment to speaking and writing his mind will be deeply missed by all of us in the Express Group and his readers. Sunil’s work will endure and inspire young journalists. I pray his family and all of us have the strength to bear this loss.”
In a message tonight to the company, Executive Director, Express Group, Anant Goenka wrote: “This is a huge personal and irreplaceable loss. We were privileged to have known him, and will always cherish his passion, balance and wisdom. We join the newsroom in our prayers and condolences to the family. Sunil, your Express family will miss you.”
“Deeply anguished over the sad and untimely demise of Sunil Jain Ji,” tweeted Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “His passing away is an irreparable loss to the world of journalism. My sincerest condolences to his family, friends and readers. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.”
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman expressed shock and offered her condolences to his family and friends. Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal said Jain was “an inspiration and somebody who inspired generation of journalists”.
To his colleagues, Jain was a friendly editor and a tough taskmaster.
A graduate of Delhi School of Economics, Jain wrote extensively on issues like regulatory capture, highlighting details of faulty decisions by the telecom as well as various electricity regulators.
“Sunil was an outstanding thinker of our time. He wrote on varied topics of economy and financial markets with thought provoking research. Will miss his analysis. Om Shanti,” said Nilesh Shah, part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and MD, Kotak Mahindra AMC.
Jain’s weekly column, Rational Expectations, was widely read and focused on macro-economic issues as well as on sectoral areas like infrastructure and the need for structural solutions as compared to piecemeal interventions.
His April 26 column, “Covid is the enemy, not the government,” written as he was fighting Covid himself, was emblematic of his hard-nosed fairness.
Underlining the string of failures by the Centre, he took states to task for dropping the ball and told them to stop crying in public and do their job.
His postscript: “Thanks to caring friends, doctors and a politician whose help was invaluable, hopefully my family’s Covid will remain under control. But should things not work out, blaming Modi isn’t going to help.”
Shortly before he was admitted to AIIMS, he sent a message to his friends: “Just holding on. Waiting for a miracle, some blood parameters worrying the doctor, so trying to raise steroids which mostly help. But not much else can be done. So listening to Bhimsen Joshi!”
After a brief tenure at industry body FICCI where he worked on export policy, Jain started his journalistic career as a reporter in India Today in 1991, and then moved on to heading all business and economy coverage for The Indian Express.
After working for six years in the Express, he worked with Business Standard for eight years, and then joined The Financial Express.
Jain wrote two books based on the results of NCAER’s annual household survey and was the co-author of ‘Caste in a Different Mould’ on the role of education and location and occupation in social and income mobility across caste groups.
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