Friday, December 2, 2011

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh (born 26 September 1932) is the 13th and current Prime Minister of India. He is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term. A Sikh, he is the first non-Hindu to occupy the office. Singh is also the 7th Prime Minister belonging to the Indian National Congress party. He is a four-time Member of Parliament from the Upper House of the Parliament of India, the Rajya Sabha, representing the state of Assam.

Singh previously carried out economic reforms in India in 1991, during his tenure as the Finance Minister, under the leadership of P. V. Narasimha Rao, from 1991 to 1996. These reforms resulted in the end of the Licence Raj system, helping to open the Indian economy to greater international trade and investment.

In 2010, Newsweek magazine recognized him as a world leader who is respected by other heads of state, describing him as "the leader other leaders love." The article quoted Mohamed ElBaradei, who remarked that Dr. Singh is "the model of what a political leader should be." Singh is number 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"

Early life 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 Khatri 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 Panjab University, Chandigarh, 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 went on to read for the Economics Tripos at Cambridge as a member of St John's College. 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 studies 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. This thesis later grew into the book "India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth".

In 1997, the University of Alberta awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Law degree. The University of Oxford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in July 2005, and in October 2006, the University of Cambridge followed with the same honour. St. John's College further honoured him by naming a Ph.D Scholarship after him, the Dr. Manmohan Singh Scholarship. In 2008, he was awarded honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Benaras Hindu University and later that year he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by University of Madras. In 2010, he was awarded honorary doctorate degree by King Saud University.

After completing his Ph.D., Singh worked for the 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 the former Cabinet Minister for Foreign Trade, Lalit Narayan Mishra. As the Minister of Foreign Trade, Lalit Narayan Mishra was one of the first to recognize Singh's talent as an economist and appointed him his advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Singh and Mishra first met, coincidentally, on a flight from India to Chile. Mishra was on his way to Santiago, Chile to attend an UNCTAD meeting.

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. Following his tenure at the Planning Commission, he was Secretary General of the South Commission, an independent economic policy think tank headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland from 1987 to 1990.

Public image
Singh has always been perceived as a man of clean background. He is seen as a man of few words. The Independent described him as "one of the world's most revered leaders" and "a man of uncommon decency and grace," noting that he drives a Maruti 800, one of the humblest cars in the Indian market. Eminent Khushwant Singh lauded Dr. Singh as the best prime minister India has had, even rating him higher than Jawaharlal Nehru. He mentions an incident in his book Absolute Khushwant: The Low-Down on Life, Death and Most things In-between where after losing the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, Singh immediately returned the INR2 lakh (US$4,100) he had borrowed from the writer for hiring taxis. Terming him as the best example of integrity, Mr. Khushwant Singh stated, "When people talk of integrity, I say the best example is the man who occupies the country's highest office." 

His personal assets amount to five crore rupees(approx 1 million USD).

However his public image was tarnished following a series of scams like 2G spectrum scam, CWG Scam.

Family and personal life
Singh married Gursharan Kaur in 1958. Their three daughters, Upinder Singh, Daman Singh and Amrit Singh, have successful, private-sector, 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 American Civil Liberties Union.

Singh has undergone multiple cardiac bypass surgeries, the most recent of which took place in January 2009.

Singh and his wife both belong to the Kohli clan, though neither uses the name as their surname.

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