By G. L. Batra, ST Guest Columnist, Writer & formerly Addl. Secretary, Indian Parliament and Chairman, Public Service Commission of the Indian State of Haryana
Dr. Manmohan Singh was born on September 26, 1932 to Sardar Gurmukh Singh and Smt. Amrit Kaur in village Gah in Punjab (Now in Chakwal district of Pakistan). He lost his mother when he was very young and was brought up by his grandmother to whom he was very close. After partition, the family migrated to Amritsar in Punjab. He studied in Hindu College in Amritsar and got his Masters degree in economics from Panjab University, Chandigarh in 1952-1954. He did Economics Tripos (with1st class Honors) from University of Cambridge UK, and D.Phil from Nuffield College, University of Oxford, U. In 1997, the University of Alberta conferred upon him an Honorary degree of Doctor of Law. The University of Oxford also awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law 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 PhD Scholarship after him. In 2008, he was awarded honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the Benares Hindu University (BHU) and later that year, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Madras. In 2010, he was awarded honorary doctorate degree by King Saud University.
Throughout his academic life, he was a brilliant student and always stood first in all his examinations. In the history of India’s economic affairs, he has always held the topmost positions. In 1971-1972, he was the Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Thereafter, he was Chief Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. He was also Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. He has held various important positions in the World Bank, IMF, Asiad Bank and was also the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission.
During his tenure as Finance Minister from 1991 to 1996, he was widely credited for carrying out India’s revolutionary economic reforms in 1991, during Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s regime. He put an end to Licence Raj and was responsible for opening up the Indian Economy. It is he who is responsible for Free Trade Policies and economic development in India thanks to which India has touched new heights as a global economic power. Dr Singh was elected to Rajya Sabha when the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power. His sagaciousness, balanced point of view and knowledge made him a successful Leader of Opposition.
After the 2004 General Elections, the Indian National Congress emerged as the party with the single largest number of seats in Lok Sabha. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was formed and Smt. Sonia Gandhi, became the chairman of UPA as the undisputed leader of the party and declared that Sardar Manmohan Singh would lead the nation as Prime Minister. Dr. Singh had a successful term with new policies for the benefit of the poor masses of the country and rapid development in the economic fields.
There is a bag full of achievements to his name. UPA came to power again for a second term in 15th Lok Sabha following the General Election in May 2009. Dr. Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister of India again. Winning the second term is credited to the policies and performance of the government under Prime Ministership of Sardar Manmohan Singh who is an honest man to the core in every field of life. He leads a very simple life and follows the best principles in life. Nobody can point a finger at him in any respect. He is a globally popular economist.
After Pandit Jawaharlal Lal Nehru, he is the only person to become the Prime Minister for the second consecutive term which is due to his clean image. His image has been tarnished because of alliance politics which led to allegations of wide spread corruption in the year 2011.