Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh (Hindi: मनमोहन सिंह, Punjabi: ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ, born 26 September 1932) is the 17th and current Prime Minister of the Republic of India. He is the first person of Sikh faith to hold the office. An economist by profession, Singh was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1985, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987 and the Finance Minister of India from 1991 to 1996.
Singh is a graduate of the Panjab University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. After serving as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, Singh was appointed as the Union Minister of Finance in 1991 by then-Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. During his tenure as the Finance Minister, Singh was widely credited for initiating economic reforms in India in 1991 which resulted in the end of the infamous Licence Raj system.
Following the 2004 general elections, Singh was unexpectedly declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Indian National Congress–led United Progressive Alliance. He was sworn in as the prime minister on May 22, 2004. During its five year term, Singh's administration largely focused on reducing government fiscal deficit, providing debt relief to poor farmers and advancing pro-industry economic and tax policies.
After the Indian National Congress won the 2009 general elections, Singh was reappointed as the Prime Minister of India on May 22, 2009, making him the first Indian Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term.

Manmohan Singh was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab, (now in Chakwal District, Pakistan) into a Sikh Kukhran Khatri family. He lost his mother, when he was very young, and he was raised by his paternal grandmother, to whom he was very close. He was a hard working student, who studied, by the candle light, as his village did not have electricity. Due to this, his eyes got weakened. After the Partition of India, he migrated to Amritsar. He went to Panjab University, Chandigarh to study Economics and attained his bachelor's and master's degree in 1952 and 1954 respectively, standing first throughout his academic career. He went on to read for the Economics Tripos at Cambridge University as a member of St John's College. (In the Oxbridge tradition, holders of the BA degree with honours are entitled in due course to an MA degree.) 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 PhD 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. From this thesis he published the book "India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth".
In 1997, the University of Alberta presented him with an Honorary Doctor of Laws. The University of Oxford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in June 2005, and in October 2006, the University of Cambridge followed with the same honour. St John's College further honored him by naming a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship.

Economic policy
Dr. Singh, along with the former Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, have presided over a period where the Indian economy has grown with an 8–9% economic growth rate. Singh has focused on reducing the budget deficit. In June 2007, India became a trillion dollar economy. In 2007, India achieved its highest GDP growth rate of 9% and became the second fastest growing major economy in the world. As prime minister, Dr. Singh has continued the economic reforms, that he, and P.V. Narasimha Rao, started in 1991. Singh's government has continued the Golden Quadrilateral and the highway modernization program that was initiated by Mr. Vajpayee's government. Singh has also been working on reforming the banking and financial sectors and has been working towards reforming public sector companies. The Finance ministry has been working towards relieving farmers of their debt and has been working towards pro-industry policies. During his tenure, the fiscal deficit has been reduced from 4.5% to 3.1%. In 2005, Singh's government introduced the VAT tax that replaced the complicated sales tax. In 2007 and early 2008, inflation became a big problem globally. Dr. Singh's government worked in concert with the Reserve Bank of India. It reached double-digits during June–November 2008 before returning to single digits in November 2008. (wikipedia-media.photobucket.com-bbc.co.uk-www.toonpool.com)

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