Alagh was born at Chakwal in Punjab, now in Pakistan, to Bhagat Ram. He studied at Maharaja's College, Jaipur and Department of Economics at University of Rajasthan. He holds a doctorate in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, USA.
The Chairman Civil Service Examination Review Committee, Union Public Service Commission Prof. Y.K.Alagh (left) speaking at the 2nd Pravasi Bharatiya Divas - 2004 in New Delhi on 11 January 2004
He was elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in November 1996 and continue till April 2000.
From 1996 to 1998, he was a Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Planning and Programme Implementation, Science and Technology and Power for Government of India. He headed various institutions and Commissions and acted as expert with a number of UN organisations. He was also the Member of Planning Commission, Govt. of India.
Dr. Y. K. Alagh is married to Raksha Alagh on 9 June 1967. He has a daughter, Tavishi Alagh (an independent filmmaker) and a son, Munish Alagh (post doctoral fellow at IIM Ahmedabad).
V K R V Rao Prizes in Social Science Research in 1981 in Economics discipline. The award is instituted by Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru, India.
^Fellow, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, Elected First Fellow of the Society in 2011
Indian Development Planning and Policy, Wider Studies in Development Economics, 1991, Second Edition, 1995
Sustainable Development : From Concept to Action, Techniques for Planners, Geneva, UNCED, reprinted in Land and Man : Essays in Sustainable Development, Delhi, Har Anand, 1995
Growth Performance of the Indian Economy, Journal of Developing Economics, Tokyo, Vol. XXX, n° 2, pp. 97–116
Indian Development Models, in Essays in the Honour of P.C. Mahalonobis, Indian National Science Academy, 1995
Fuel for Power, Lovraj Kumar memorial lecture, 1996, Current Science, Nov. 1996
State of the Indian Farmer: An Overview, Academic Press and Ministry of Agriculture, 2004
On Sherpas and Coolies: The L20 and Non Brahmanical Futures, in John English, R.Thakur and A.F.Cooper ed., Reforming From the Top, A Leaders 20 Summit, UNU Press, pp. 169–186
Agriculture in A Rural Urban Continuum, Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, April 2011, pp.165-177
Green Revolution, The New Oxford Companion to Economics in India, Vol.1, p. 301, Oxford University Press, 2012
India2020, Journal of Quantitative Economics, Jan.2006, pp.1-14
The Future of Indian Agriculture, 2013, National Book Trust
'Economic Policy in a Liberalising Economy:The Indian Case', Springer Economic Policy Briefs, Springer Macmillan, 2018.
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