Manmohan Singh turns 85: The economist Prime Minister no one saw coming

After the Lok Sabha elections of 2004, a few anticipated Manmohan Singh to become prime minister. Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi was surprised to call Singh a prime minister appointed by the party. It was approved by party members because Gandhi was supposed to be the natural seeker for the post.

Born on 26 September 1932 in the village of Gah in Punjab province in Pakistan, Singh held several key posts as the Government’s Economic Adviser and the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission before being catapulted into the position of Prime Minister in 2004. The country’s Prime Minister Sikh was sworn in by President APJ Abdul Kalam.

The economist, who turned 85 on Tuesday, spearheaded the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Congress as the fourteenth prime minister and his success has probably earned him his second term. He fired the prime minister’s office after 10 years, the longest after 17 years of Jawaharlal Nehru’s existence and left a mixed legacy of achievements and setbacks

Singh is credited with playing a key role in introducing economic reforms in the 1990s, when India liberalized its economy. A famous economist, he entered politics at the height of the economic crisis of 1991 when Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao instructed him in the government as finance minister. Together they have lifted the economy from the balance of payments crisis and paved the way for economic reforms that no successive governments have responded to.

A technocrat who held various positions, including governor of the Reserve Bank and Secretary General of the South-South Commission, had earned a name for the integrity and integrity that made him the automatic choice for Sonia Gandhi for the position of Prime Minister.

Five Years of Success

The Singh administration found a balance in the country in charge of the community. The government led by Singh recorded strong GDP growth of 8.5% during most of his term and the first five years were marked by initiatives such as MNREGA and RTI.

The highlight of Singh’s first term was also the prime minister’s sweet stance on the civilian nuclear deal between India and the United States despite strong opposition from congressional allies. Putting his foot in the problem, Singh said he would not go back to international recruiting, even if that meant the downfall of his government. The leftist parties withdrew support for their government, but survived in the vote of confidence with the help of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party

The second government mandate headed by Singh was whipped by three large scams – 2G, CWG and charcoal block subsidy fraud cases – the combined amount of which was supposed to be Rs 4 lakh crore, Opposition to claim that there was corruption ” without precedents”. The accusations were followed by a paralysis of government policies.

In addition to the misfortunes of his government, there was the anti-corruption crusade headed by Anna Hazare, who acquired large dimensions at the price of Congress. As Congress predictions of poor performance have come, party leaders said the government has not reported its achievements. It was seen as a veiled attack on Singh to remain silent.

Ironically, a man whose personal honesty was not questioned presided over a government marked by a series of scams. The dual power center perceived in Congress in the form of power takeover with party leader Sonia Gandhi also embraces him, critics call him a “weak prime minister.”


Among the many awards and honors awarded to Singh in his public career, the most important are Padma Vibhushan (1987); the Jawaharlal Nehru Centennial Award of the Indian Science Congress (1995); the Asia Money Award to the Minister of Finance of the Year (1993 and 1994); the Silver Money award to the Minister of Finance of the Year (1993), the Adam Smith Award of Cambridge University (1956); and Wright’s Distinguished Performance Award at St. John’s College, Cambridge (1955).

He is a recipient of honorary degrees from many universities, including Cambridge and Oxford Universities. His initial education took place in the Pakistani province of Punjab.


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