Manmohan Singh

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This article is about the Prime Minister of India. For the film director and cinematographer, see Manmohan Singh (director).
Manmohan Singh
Image:Manmohan Singh, G8 summit.jpg

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Incumbent
Assumed office 
22 May 2004
Preceded by Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Born 26 September 1932
Gah, West Punjab, British India
Political party Indian National Congress

Manmohan Singh (Punjabi: ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ, Hindi: मनमोहन सिंह, translation: Charming Lion) is the 14th and current Prime Minister of India. He is considered to be one of the most influential figures in India´s recent history, because of the economic liberalisation he started in 1991 when he was Finance Minister.<ref>India's architect of reforms .</ref> He was born on 26 September, 1932, in Gah, West Punjab (now in Pakistan) and is a member of the Indian National Congress party. The first Sikh Indian prime minister, Singh was sworn in on May 22, 2004. He is a native Punjabi speaker.

Singh is an economist by profession, and has formerly served in the International Monetary Fund. His economics education included an undergraduate (1952) and a master's degree (1954) from Panjab University, Chandigarh; an undergraduate degree (1957) from Cambridge University (St. John's College); and a doctorate (1962) from Oxford University (Nuffield College). He is the most educated Indian Prime Minister in history.<ref>Singh reopens reform chapter.</ref> Singh is also known to be an unassuming politician, enjoying a formidable, highly respected and admired image.<ref>Manmohan Singh ranked as the best PM ever in India .</ref> Due to his work at the UN, International Monetary Fund and other international bodies, he is very highly respected in the world. He was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2002. Before becoming prime minister, he served as the finance minister under Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. He is widely credited for transforming the economy in the early 90s, during the financial crisis. He was leader of the opposition, of the Upper house, from 1998 - 2004 when India was governed by a coalition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Singh has been married since 1958; he and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, have three daughters. His economic policies - which included the reduction of several socialist policies - were popular, especially among the middle class. He enjoys strong support among the middle and educated classes of India due to his educational background. Singh lost his seat in the Lok Sabha from South Delhi in 1999. He is thus the only Indian Prime Minister never to have been an elected member of the Lower House of Parliament. He is a member of the Rajya Sabha for Assam since 1991.

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[edit] Economic reforms and ascent to power

Singh served as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India in the late 1980s, and was elevated to finance minister in 1991 by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.

Singh is widely regarded as the architect of India's original economic reform programme which was enacted in 1991 under Rao's administration. The economic liberalization package pushed by Singh and Rao opened the nation to foreign direct investment and reduced the red tape that had previously impeded business growth. The liberalization was prompted by an acute balance-of-payments crisis whereby the Indian government was left without sufficient reserves to meet its obligations, and had begun preparations to mortgage its gold reserves to the Bank of England in order to obtain the cash reserves needed to run the country.

Many see the 1991 liberalization as the first of a series of economic liberalizations throughout the 1990s and 2000s that have raised India's growth rates substantially since the early 1990s. Despite its economic liberalization policies, Rao's government was defeated in the next election because Rao and other top ministers were widely seen as corrupt[citation needed].


[edit] Opposition and 2004 election

Singh stayed with the Congress Party despite continuous marginalization and defeats in the elections of 1996, 1998 and 1999. He did not join the rebels in a major split which occurred in 1999, when many major Congress leaders objected to Sonia Gandhi's rise as Congress President and Leader of the Opposition. Being touted as the Congress choice for the PM's job, she became a target of nationalists who objected to her Italian birth. It seemed that a party which turned to old links in the Nehru family and a foreigner for political leadership had no future or potential to look forward to. But Singh continued to stay on as a leader within the party, most notably helping to revamp the party's platform and organization.

The Congress alliance won a surprisingly high number of seats in the Parliamentary elections of 2004, owing largely to a nationwide disenchantment of millions of poorer citizens with the BJP's focus on the surging middle-class, and also its dismal record in handling religious tensions. The Left Front decided to support a Congress alliance government from outside in order to keep the "communal forces" out of power. Sonia Gandhi was elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and was expected to become the Prime Minister. In a surprise move, she declined to accept the post and instead nominated Singh. Singh secured the nomination for prime minister on May 19, 2004 when President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam officially asked him to form a government. Although most expected him to head the Finance Ministry himself, he entrusted the job to P. Chidambaram.

His appointment is notable as it comes 20 years after India witnessed significant tensions between the Indian central government and the Punjabi Sikh community. After Congress Party Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the mother-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, ordered central government troops to storm the Golden Temple (the holiest site of Sikhism) in Amritsar, Punjab to quell a separatist movement, she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. The result was a tremendous nationwide crisis in which many innocent Sikhs were murdered in riots at the behest of Congress party heavyweights[citation needed].

[edit] Tenure as Prime Minister

Image:Manmohan singh with bush.jpg
Manmohan Singh with US President, George W. Bush at the Oval Office.

Singh's image is of a formidable intellectual, a political leader of integrity (a prevalent public perception denounces most national bureaucracies as corrupt and tainted), someone who is compassionate and attentive to common people, and as a recognised technocrat. Although legislative achievements have been few and the Congress-led alliance is routinely hampered by conflicts and scandals, Singh's administration has focused on reducing the fiscal deficit, providing debt-relief to poor farmers, extending social programs and advancing the pro-industry economic and tax policies that have launched the country on a major economic expansion course since 2002. Singh has been the image of the Congress campaign to defuse religious tensions and conflicts and bolster political support from minorities like Muslims and Christians.

The Prime Minister's foreign policy has been to continue the new peace process with Pakistan initiated by his predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Exchange visits by top leaders from both countries have highlighted this year, as has reduced terrorism and increased prosperity in the state of Kashmir.

Image:SINGHUSA.jpg
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney after delivering a speech to the Joint session of the United States Congress as Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert looks on.

The peace process has also been used by the government to build stronger relations with the United States, China and European nations. But the Government suffered a setback when it lost the support of a key ally, African Union members, for its bid for a permanent membership to the U.N. Security Council with veto privileges.

Dr. Singh is known as a revolutionary leader. He made it clear in his address to Parliament in 2006 regarding his Nuclear Deal with US. He said he believed in taking India to new heights.Energy scarcity is hampering progress of the country. The speech gave signal of a new Manmohan Singh, who compelled his fellow parliamentarians to take a step forward for India's sake. He reminded them of the fears and anxities that existed when he annouced reforms in the early 90's. Finally, the whole parliament, including the leftists gave him support on the Nuclear issue.

[edit] Controversies

He is the first prime minster in India who is not an elected member of the Lok Sabha (House of the People). He lost the direct Parliament Elections from the South Delhi constituency. He is a member of Rajya Sabha (Council of States).

[edit] References

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[edit] External links

[edit] Government of India Links

[edit] Other Sites

[edit] Also see

[edit] Dr. Manmohan Singh's career

Preceded by:
I. G. Patel
Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
1982–1985
Succeeded by:
A. Ghosh
Preceded by:
Atal Behari Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India
2004 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by:
P V Narasimha Rao
Deputy chairperson of the planning commission of India
1985–1987
Succeeded by:
P. Shiv Shanker
Preceded by:
Yashwant Sinha
Finance Minister of India
1991–1996
Succeeded by:
Jaswant Singh
Preceded by:
Atal Behari Vajpayee
Chairperson of the planning commission of India
2004 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by:
Natwar Singh
Minister for External Affairs of India
2005–2006
Succeeded by:
Pranab Mukherjee



Prime Ministers of India

NehruNandaShastriI. GandhiDesaiC. C. SinghR. GandhiV. P. SinghShekharRaoVajpayeeGowdaGujralM. Singh

bn:মনমোহন সিং

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Manmohan Singh

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