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Name: Singh, Manmohan
Current Position: Prime Minister


Manmohan Singh has charge of the Ministry of Planning, in addition to his duties as: Prime Minister of India; Chairman of the Planning Commission; head of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions; head of the Department of Atomic Energy; and head of the Department of Space.  


Manmohan Singh is not usually considered a career politician. He started out as a brilliant student who came from a poor family in west Punjab, who were forced to relocate to Amritsar after Partition. 


Singh won academic scholarships to Cambridge and Oxford to train as an economist. His stint in governance started when he was appointed as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Subsequently, he became the governor of Reserve Bank in 1982. Similar postings followed. In 1991, he was appointed Finance Minister in the P.V. Narsimha Rao government, where he worked on the agenda to liberalize the Indian economy. He is often credited as the father of economic liberalization in India but his hands was forced by the World Bank, who refused to offer India further credit unless they opened their economy.


He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1991 and became Prime Minister of India in 2004. He previously served as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Deputy Chair of the Planning Commission, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Economic Affairs, Union Finance Minister, and in a large number of other posts. 


Singh was an accidental Prime Minister, picked at the last moment by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who did not assume the premiership in 2004, on account of her foreign birth. He is also the second PM after Jawaharlal Nehru to get a second term after completing a five-year-term.


He staked his government’s stability upon the Indo-US nuclear deal and refused to bow down to the Left’s opposition. After the government fell, he took on Bharatiya Janata Party’s Lal Krishna Advani, prime ministerial candidate of the principal opposition party, for calling him weak. His decisive and firm persona helped the Congress regain power in 2009.


Since then, it has been mostly downhill, with the country lurching from one scam to another. The inability to push through with Foreign Direct Investment in retail, seen as crucial to initiating so-called second-generation economic reforms, has dented his credibility in the worldwide business community.


Manmohan Singh is currently at the lowest point of his eight-year tenure as Indian Prime Minister. The rupee is at a record low, having fallen the most in last six months. The business community, the opposition and the press are regularly pointing out the country’s so-called policy paralysis. The foreign press has even begun speculating that this might be the end of the India story.


For the first time, the PM has also been accused of corruption. Team Anna, a group of activists working with Anna Hazare, the country’s most well-known anti-corruption crusader, has deemed the PM responsible for the alleged coal scam. According to the calculations of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the exchequer lost Rs. 1.8 lakh crore due to “undue benefits” given to private companies in allocation of coal blocks. The PM headed the ministry during the period.


The charge has rattled the PM, usually considered incorruptible by even his worst detractors. Singh has offered to quit public life if charges are proven.


The only relief for Singh at this moment is that the Gandhi family loyalists have stopped clamoring for Rahul Gandhi to become PM, after the party’s disastrous results in March 2012’s Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Since Rahul Gandhi staked his prestige on the election results, the big loss would not allow him to assume the PM’s job for the time being.


Manmohan Singh and his wife Gurusharan Kaur have three daughters: One of his daughters, Amrit Singh, an attorney, formerly worked on immigrant rights at the ACLU. She is now at George Soros’ Open Society Justice Initiative.


Official Biography

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