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Dr. Manmohan Singh

Dr. Manmohan Singh
  • Singh was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab, British India, into a Sikh family.
  • He lost his mother when he was very young and was raised by his paternal grandmother, to whom he was very close.
  • After the Partition of India, his family migrated to Amritsar, India, where he studied at Hindu College. He attended Punjab University, then in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, studying Economics and got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1952 and 1954, respectively, standing first throughout his academic career.
  • He completed his Economics Tripos at University of Cambridge as he was a member of St John’s College in 1957.
  • After Cambridge, Singh returned to India to his teaching position at Punjab University.
  • In 1960, he went to the University of Oxford for the D.Phil, where he was a member of Nuffield College.
  • After completing his D.Phil, Singh returned to India until 1966 when he went to work for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 1966–1969. • Later, he was appointed as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Trade by Lalit Narayan Mishra, in recognition of Singh’s talent as an economist
  • From 1969 to 1971, Singh was a Professor of International Trade at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.
  • In 1972, Singh was Chief Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance and in 1976 he was Secretary in the Finance Ministry.
  • In 1980–1982 he was at the Planning Commission, and in 1982, he was appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank of India under then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and held the post until 1985.
  • He went on to become the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission (India) from 1985 to 1987.
  • Singh held the post as the Advisor to Prime Minister of India on Economic Affairs during the tenure of V. P. Singh. In March 1991, he became Chairman of the University Grants Commission.
  • In June 1991, India’s Prime Minister at the time, P. V. Narasimha Rao, chose Singh to be his Finance Minister.
  • In 1991, India’s fiscal deficit was close to 8.5 per cent of the gross domestic product, the balance of payments deficit was huge and the current account deficit was close to 3.5 percent of India’s GDP.
  • India’s foreign reserves barely amounted to US$1 billion, enough to pay for 2 weeks of imports.
  • Evidently, India was facing an economic crisis. At this point, the government of India sought funds from the supranational International Monetary Fund, which, while assisting India financially, imposed several conditions regarding India’s economic policy.
  • Chidambaram and Manmohan explained to the party that the economy would collapse if it was not deregulated.To the dismay of the party, Rao allowed Manmohan to deregulate the Indian economy.
  • Subsequently, Singh, who had thus far been one of the most influential architects of India’s socialist economy, eliminated the permit raj,reduced state control of the economy, and reduced import taxes.
  • Rao and Singh thus implemented policies to open up the economy and change India’s socialist economy to a more capitalistic one, in the process dismantling the Licence Raj, a system that inhibited the prosperity of private businesses.
  • They removed many obstacles standing in the way of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and initiated the process of the privatisation of public sector companies.
  • However, in spite of these reforms, Rao’s government was voted out in 1996 due to non-performance of government in other areas.
  • Singh was first elected to the upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, in 1991 by the legislature of the state of Assam and was re-elected in 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2013.
  • 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 contested for the Lok Sabha from South Delhi but was unable to win the seat.
  • After the 2004 general elections, the Indian National Congress ended the incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) tenure by becoming the political party with the single largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha.
  • It formed United Progressive Alliance (UPA) with allies and staked claim to form government. In a surprise move, Chairperson Sonia Gandhi declared Manmohan Singh, as the UPA candidate for the Prime Ministership.
  • Despite the fact that Singh had never won a Lok Sabha seat.He took the oath as the Prime Minister of India on 22 May 2004.
  • 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.
  • 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 subsequently formed a government and took office. His stated goals included helping improve conditions for India’s poor (who generally had not benefited from the country’s economic growth), securing peace with neighbouring Pakistan, and improving relations between India’s various religious groups.
    • In 2007, India achieved its highest GDP growth rate of 9% and became the second fastest growing major economy in the world.
  • Singh’s government has continued the Golden Quadrilateral and the highway modernisation program that was initiated by Vajpayee’s government.
  • The Finance ministry has been working towards relieving farmers of their debt and has been working towards proindustry policies.In 2005, Singh’s government introduced the value added tax, replacing sales tax. In 2007 and early 2008, the global problem of inflation impacted India.
  • In 2005, Prime Minister Singh and his government’s health ministry started the National Rural Health Mission, which has mobilised half a million community health workers.
  • Eight more IIT’s were opened.The Singh government also continued the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme. The programme includes the introduction and improvement of mid-day meals and the opening of schools all over India, especially in rural areas, to fight illiteracy.
  • Singh’s government has been instrumental in strengthening antiterror laws with amendments to Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
  • National Investigation Agency (India) (NIA) was also created soon after the Nov 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised.
  • Also, Unique Identification Authority of India was established in February 2009, an agency responsible for implementing the envisioned Multipurpose National Identity Card with the objective of increasing national security and facilitating e-governance.
  • The important National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and the Right to Information Act were passed by the Parliamentin 2005 during his tenure.
  • Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act was enacted on 4 August 2009.India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010.
  • Manmohan Singh has continued the pragmatic foreign policy that was started by P.V. Narasimha Rao and continued by Bharatiya Janata Party”s Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • Singh has continued the peace process with Pakistan initiated by his predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In November 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited India which was followed by Singh’s visit to Beijing in January 2008.
  • A major development in Sino-Indian relations was the reopening of the Nathula Pass in 2006 after being closed for more than four decades. As of 2010, the People’s Republic of China is the second biggest trade partner of India.
  • Relations with Afghanistan have also improved considerably.Singh’s government has worked towards stronger ties with the United States. He visited the United States in July 2005 initiating negotiations over the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.
  • This was followed by George W. Bush’s successful visit to India in March 2006, during which the declaration over the nuclear agreement was made, giving India access to American nuclear fuel and technology.
  • Relations have improved with Japan and European Union countries, like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Singh’s government has also been especially keen on expanding ties with Israel.
  • India held general elections to the 15th Lok Sabha in five phases between 16 April 2009 and 13 May 2009. The results of the election were announced on 16 May 2009.
  • The Congress and its allies were able to put together a comfortable majority with support from 322 members out of 543 members of the House.
  • On 22 May 2009, Manmohan Singh was sworn in as the Prime Minister during a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • The 2012 report filed by the CAG in Parliament of India states that due to allocation of coal blocks to certain private companies without bidding process the nation suffered estimated loss of Rs 1.85 trillion between 2005 and 2009 in which Manmohan Singh was the coal minister of India.
  • Singh did not contest the 2014 general election for the 16th Lok Sabha and resigned his post as prime minister at the end of his term on 17 May 2014.
  • He served as the acting prime minister till 25 May 2014, when Narendra Modi was sworn in as the new prime minister
  • The Independent described Singh as “one of the world’s most revered leaders“.
  • Manmohan Singh was ranked 18 on the 2010 Forbes list of the world’s most powerful people.Forbes magazine described Singh as being “universally praised as India’s best prime minister since Nehru”.
  • Australian journalist Greg Sheridan praised Singh “as one of the greatest statesmen in Asian history.” Singh was later ranked 19 and 28 in 2012 and 2013 in Forbes list.
  • Singh’s public image had been tarnished with his coalition government having been accused of various corruption scandals since the start of its second term in 2009. DOHA