He was born in a Deshastha family. He was popularly known as an Economist.
From 1971 to 1990 he was an M.P., elected to the Lok Sabha for 5 times consecutively from Rajapur in Konkan, Maharashtra. He was one of the prominent opposition leaders when Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were the Prime Ministers.
He was the Minister for Railways in the Morarji Desai Ministry. He initiated improvements in second-class railway travel for passengers by replacing the wooden berths with berths consisting of two inches foam. He was also the Finance minister in the cabinet of V. P. Singh.