Present Prime Minister of India
Manmohan Singh born 26 September 1932) is the 14th and current Prime Minister of the Republic of India. He is the first Indian Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term. He is the first Sikh to hold the post. Singh is also the 12th Prime Minister under an Indian National Congress Party Government.
Singh is widely credited for carrying out economic reforms in India during his tenure as the Finance Minister from 1991 to 1996. These reforms resulted in the end of the infamous Licence Raj system and opened the Indian economy to international trade and investment. He is widely considered to have made a profound impact on many generations of Indians since Indian Independence. Singh has a reputation worldwide for being sincere, honest, and hard-working. Many Indians admire and respect him for bringing India out of the clutches of the Licence Raj.
In the year 2010, TIME magazine listed him among the 100 most influential people in the world.
An economist by profession, Singh was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1985, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987 and the Finance Minister of India from 1991 to 1996. He is also a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, currently serving his fourth term.
Manmohan Singh is a graduate of Punjab University, Chandigarh, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Oxford. After serving as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, Singh was appointed as the Union Minister of Finance in 1991 by the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, who chose a professional economist breaking the tradition of political appointments to Finance Ministry. Narasimha Rao took up the task of political management largely insulating Dr.Manmohan Singh from political pressure and interference. During his tenure as the Finance Minister, Singh was widely credited for carrying out liberalising reforms in India in 1991 which resulted in the weakening of Licence Raj system.
Following the 2004 general elections, Singh was unexpectedly declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. He was sworn in as the prime minister on 22 May 2004, along with the First Manmohan Singh Cabinet. After the Indian National Congress won the 2009 general elections, On 22 May 2009, Manmohan Singh was sworn in for his second tenure as the Prime Minister at the Asoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Childhood and education
Manmohan Singh was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab (now in Chakwal District, Pakistan), British India, into a Sikh family. He lost his mother when he was very young, and he was raised by his paternal grandmother, to whom he was very close. He was a hard working student who studied by candlelight, as his village did not have electricity. After the Partition of India, he migrated to Amritsar, India. He attended Punjab University, Chandigarh studying Economics and attaining his bachelor's and master's degrees in 1952 and 1954 respectively, standing first throughout his academic career. He went on to read for the Economics Tripos at Cambridge as a member of St John's College. (In the Oxbridge tradition, holders of the BA degree with honours are entitled in due course to an MA degree.) He won the Wright's Prize for distinguished performance in 1955 and 1957. He was also one of the few recipients of the Wrenbury scholarship. In 1962, Singh completed his DPhil from the University of Oxford where he was a member of Nuffield College. The title of his doctoral thesis was "India’s export performance, 1951-1960, export prospects and policy implications", and his thesis supervisor was Dr I M D Little. From this thesis he published the book "India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth".
In 1997, the University of Alberta presented him with an Honorary Doctor of Laws. The University of Oxford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2006, and in October 2006, the University of Cambridge followed with the same honour. St. John's College further honoured him by naming a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship
After completing his D.Phil, Singh worked for United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 1966-1969. During the 1970s, he taught at the University of Delhi and worked for the Ministry of Foreign Trade with then Cabinet Minister for Foreign Trade Lalit Narayan Mishra and for Finance Ministry of India. In 1982, he was appointed the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and held the post until 1985. He went on to become the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987.
Finance Minister of India
In 1991, India's then-Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, chose Singh to be the Finance Minister. At the time, India was facing an economic crisis. Rao and Singh implemented policies to open up the economy and change the socialist economic system to a capitalist economy. The economic reform package included dismantling the Licence Raj that made it difficult for private businesses to exist and prosper, removal of many obstacles for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and initiating the process of the privatisation of public sector companies. These economic reforms are credited with bringing high levels of economic growth in India, and changing the annual 3%, to an average of 8-9% economic growth in the following years. However, in spite of these reforms, Rao's government was voted out in 1996 due to non-performance of government in other areas.
In 1993 Dr. Singh offered his resignation from the post of Finance Minister after a parliamentary investigation report criticised his ministry for not being able to check and anticipate a $1.8 billion dollar securities scandal.The then Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao refused the resignation, instead promising to punish the individuals mentioned in the report.
Career in the Rajya Sabha
Singh was first elected to the upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, in 1991 and was re-elected in 2001 and 2007. From 1998 to 2004, while the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power, Singh was the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. In 1999, he ran for the Lok Sabha from South Delhi but was unable to win the seat.Some opposition parties have criticised Singh's election as a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, arguing that he was not eligible to become a Member of Parliament from a state where he does not reside.
Singh married Gursharan Kaur in 1958. However, the family has largely stayed out of the limelight. Their three daughters - Upinder, Daman and Amrit, have successful, non-political, careers. Upinder Singh is a professor of history at Delhi University. She has written six books, including Ancient Delhi (1999) and A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India (2008). Daman Singh is a graduate of St. Stephen's College, Delhi and Institute of Rural Management, Anand, Gujarat, and author of The Last Frontier: People and Forests in Mizoram and a novel Nine by Nine. Amrit Singh is a staff attorney at the ACLU.
Singh has undergone multiple cardiac bypass surgerys, most recently in January 2009.
Degrees and posts held
·BA (Hons) in Economics 1952; MA First Class in Economics, 1954 Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
·Honours degree in Economics, St John's College, Cambridge (1957)
oSenior Lecturer, Economics (1957-1959)
oProfessor of International Trade (1969-1971)
·DPhil in Economics, Nuffield College, Oxford (1962)
·Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
oHonorary Professor (1996)
·Chief, Financing for Trade Section, UNCTAD, United Nations Secretariat, New York
o1966 : Economic Affairs Officer 1966
·Economic Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Trade, India (1971-1972)
·Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, India, (1972-1976)
·Honorary Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (1976)
·Director, Reserve Bank of India (1976-1980)
·Director, Industrial Development Bank of India (1976-1980)
·Secretary, Ministry of Finance (Department of Economic Affairs), Government of India, (1977-1980)
·Governor, Reserve Bank of India (1982-1985)
·Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India, (1985-1987)
·Advisor to Prime Minister of India on Economic Affairs (1990-1991)
·Finance Minister of India, (21 June 1991 - 15 May 1996)
·Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (1998-2004)
·Prime Minister of India (22 May 2004 - Present)