Dr. Manmohan Singh | The Most Educated Prime Minister

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His Life: A Man of Uncommon Decency

  • Year 1932 – Born in Gah, Pakistan.
  • Year 1958 – Married Gursharan Kaur.
  • Year 1973 – Appointed Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance.
  • Year 1987 – Received the Padma Vibhushan.
  • Year 1991 – Appointed Finance Minister in the cabinet of P. V. Narasimha Rao.
  • Year 1998 – Became Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Year 2004 – Elected the Prime Minister of India.
  • Year 2014 – Resigned his post as the Prime Minister.

“Life is never free of contradictions.” 

Dr. Manmohan Singh is an Indian politician, economist, thinker and the former Prime Minister of India. He served as the Prime Minister for two full consecutive terms from 2004 to 2014. He is widely known for liberalization of the Indian economy during the 1990s as a Finance Minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao. He is controversially  regarded as The Accidental Prime Minister of India.

Childhood

He was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on September 26, 1932 in Gah, Punjab in Pakistan. His mother passed away when he was quite young and was brought up by his paternal grandmother. Dr. Singh had a strenuous upbringing and struggled a lot in his life. His family moved to Amritsar after the independence in 1947.

Personal Life

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He completed his early education from the Hindu College in Amritsar. He then joined the Panjab University to earn his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1952 and master’s degrees in the same subject in 1954. Dr. Singh completed his honors from the Cambridge University as a member of St John’s College in 1957. In 1962, he completed his doctorate in Economics from Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

He married Gursharan Kaur in 1958 and have three daughters; Upinder Singh, Daman Singh and Amrit Singh with her.

Political Journey

After the completion of his degree, he did various jobs before entering into the politics. He worked for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 1966 to 1969. In 1969, he became the Professor of International Trade at the Delhi School of Economics. In 1972, he was appointed the Economic Advisor in the Commerce Ministry and the following year Chief Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance.

A critical turning point in the life of Dr. Singh was his appointment as the Finance Minister in 1991 by the then Prime Minister, P. V. Narsimha Rao. It was the time when the Indian economy was going through the worst times. He successfully abolished License Raj, lowered taxes, privatized many industries, opened ways for foreign direct investment and liberalized the Indian economy. It was due to the vision of Narsimha Rao and sincere efforts of Dr. Singh that India is one of the fastest growing economies today.

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He was the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha during regime of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from 1998 to 2004. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2004, Indian National Congress emerged as the party with maximum seats and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) formed the government. Dr. Singh was elected the Prime Minister and held his position for two consecutive terms till 2014, making him the second Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to make a comeback after completing a full five year term.

He achieved several feats during his tenure and executed several legislation. His milestones include Unique Identification Authority, Right to Information Act, 2005; National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005; India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement, and Right to Education Act, 2009. The second term of Dr. Singh’s government faced some of the biggest blots of corruption like 2G Spectrum Scam, Commonwealth Games Scam, Coal Scam, among many others.

Awards and Recognition

He has been awarded with several honorary degrees by prestigious institutions like University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Banaras Hindu University and Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He was bestowed with the Padma Vibhushan in 1987. In his honor the St John’s College, University of Cambridge instituted a scholarship named after him.

After the end of his second term he decided not to contest for the 16th Lok Sabha elections. He is currently serving as the member of Rajya Sabha from Assam. Recently he took up the chair professorship at Punjab University and returned to teaching. A book named as ‘The Accidental Prime Minister : The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh” has also been authored and published by Sanjaya Baru, his personal advisor.

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