Manmohan Singh Biography
Sun Sign: Libra
Born Country: India
Born in: Gah, Punjab, British India (present-day Punjab, Pakistan)
Famous as: Former Prime Minister of India
Spouse/Ex-: Gursharan Kaur (1958–present)
father: Gurmukh Singh
mother: Amrit Kaur
children: Amrit, Daman, Upinder
education: St John's College - Cambridge, Panjab University - Chandigarh, Nuffield College, Panjab University, Hindu College
awards: 2010 - World Statesman Award
2005 - Top 100 Influential People in the World
2002 - Outstanding Parliamentarian Award
2000 - Annasaheb Chirmule Award
1999 - H.H. Kanchi Sri Paramacharya Award for Excellence
1999 - Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences
1997 - Lokmanya Tilak Award
1997 - Justice K.S. Hegde Foundation Award
1997 - Nikkei Asia prize for Regional Growth
1995 - Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award (1994–95)
1994 - Finance Minister of the Year
1994 - Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award (1994–95)
1994 - Elected Distinguished Fellow of the London School of Economics
1994 - Elected Honorary Fellow of the All India Management Association
1993 - Finance Minister of the Year
1987 - Padma Vibhushan
1986 - Elected National Fellow
National Institute of Education
1985 - Elected President of the Indian Economic Association
1956 - Adam Smith Prize
1955 - Wright Prize for Distinguished Performance
Manmohan Singh is an eminent Indian economist and politician who served as the prime minister of India for two consecutive terms. He held prominent posts in different organizations and received several honors for his brilliant work even before beginning his political career. He held various posts, such as advisor to the Foreign Trade Ministry, Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Governor of Reserve Bank of India, and Head of the Planning Commission. As the finance minister under P. V. Narasimha Rao government in the 1990s, he carried out several structural reforms that liberalized India's economy. It also enhanced Singh's reputation as a leading reform-minded economist. In 2004, he was chosen to be the prime minister of India which came across as a surprise as Sonia Gandhi, the head of the UPA, was expected to take up the post. His no-nonsense image and brilliant bureaucratic experience played major roles when he was re-elected as the prime minister in 2009. However, in his second term, he was criticized for fostering too close a relationship with the United States and his party faced allegations of corruption which eventually led to the deterioration of his party’s popularity. Despite the criticism, he is still regarded as one of India’s most important economists and politicians. A great thinker, scholar, and talented economist, he became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term.
- He was born on September 26, 1932, in Gah, Punjab, British India, to Gurmukh Singh and his wife Amrit Kaur. He lost his mother at a young age and was brought up by his grandmother.
- He received his early education from ‘Hindu College,’ Amritsar, where his family settled after the Partition of India.
- He was then enrolled at the ‘Panjab University,’ first in Chandigarh and then in Hoshiarpur. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1952 and master’s degree in 1954.
- As a student of ‘St. John’s College,’ he attended the ‘University of Cambridge’ and completed his honors degree in 1957.
- In 1962, he earned his D.Phil. in economics from ‘Nuffield College, University of Oxford.’
- From 1966 to 1969, he worked for the ‘United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’ (UNCTAD).
- From 1969 to 1971, he worked as a professor of ‘International Trade at the Delhi School of Economics.’
- In 1972, he was appointed as the Chief Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance. In 1976, he became a Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.
- He served as the director of Reserve Bank of India from 1976 to 1980.
- From 1980 to 1982, he worked for the Planning Commission of India. He served as the Governor of Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1985.
- In 1985, he was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, a post which he held until 1987.
- From 1987 to 1990, he worked as the Secretary General of South Commission, an independent economic think-tank based in Geneva, Switzerland.
- In 1990, following his return to India, he became the advisor on economic affairs to the prime minister.
- In 1991, he became the chairman of the ‘University Grants Commission’ (UGC).
- In 1991, Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao appointed him as the Finance Minister of India, a post which he held until 1996.
- From 1998 to 2004, he served as the Leader of Opposition in the Upper House when the ‘Bharatiya Janata Party’ (BJP) was in power.
- During the 2004 General Elections, ‘Indian National Congress’ party joined hands with the allies, formed the ‘United Progressive Alliance’ (UPA), and defeated BJP. ‘Congress’ leader Sonia Gandhi recommended Singh’s name for the post of prime minister and on May 22, 2004, he became the 13th prime minister of India.
- In 2009, UPA was once again successful in forming the government during the 15th Lok Sabha elections and he was re-elected as the prime minister of India on 22 May 2009.
- During the 2014 General Elections, ‘Bharatiya Janata Party’ defeated the UPA by a huge margin. As a result, he resigned from his post on May 17, 2014.
- Singh remains an active member in politics. He is a prominent critic of the government’s decisions pertaining to the Indian economy. He has also taken up a position at ‘Panjab University’ where he regularly interacts with students and faculty members.
- As the finance minister of India, he was successful in implementing economic reforms that aimed at enhancing the productivity and liberalization of the economy. One of the most important measures he took was to free India from ‘Licence Raj’—the root cause of slow economic growth and corruption in the Indian economy.
- As the prime minister, he invested his time in various national and global issues, such as economy, health and education, terrorism, and foreign affairs. He worked towards improving the conditions of India’s poor and resolving conflicts with Pakistan. He also worked towards improving relations among various religious groups of India.
- During his tenure as the prime minister, ‘National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’ (NREGA) and the ‘Right to Information Act’ were passed by the Parliament in 2005. He also contributed in strengthening anti-terror laws with amendments to UAPA. He also worked towards improving relations with the USA, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
- In 1987, he received ‘Padma Vibhushan,’ the second highest civilian award in the Republic of India.
- In 1993, he was named ‘Finance Minister of the Year’ by ‘Euromoney’ and ‘Asiamoney.’
- He was awarded honorary professorship by ‘Jawaharlal Nehru University’ in 1976 and then in 1996 by ‘Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.’
- He is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from several prestigious institutions, such as ‘University of Alberta’ (1997), ‘University of Oxford’ (2005), ‘University of Cambridge’ (2006), and ‘King Saud University’ (2010).
- In 2005, he was listed among the ‘Top 100 Influential People in the World’ by ‘Time’ magazine.
- In 2014, he was honored with the ‘Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers’ by the government of Japan.
- In 1958, he married Gursharan Kaur. The couple was blessed with three daughters: Upinder, Daman, and Amrit.
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