Dr. Manmohan Singh is the 14th and current Prime Minister of the Republic of India. He was born on Monday, 26 September 1932. He is the first Sikh to hold the post of Prime Minister in India. He is the first Indian Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term. Manmohan Singh is also the 12th Prime Minister under an Indian National Congress Government.

Manmohan Singh Biography

Manmohan Singh Manmohan Singh was born on Monday, September 26, 1932 at Gah in the Punjab before the partition of the subcontinent. He 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 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 candlelight, as his village did not have electricity. After the Partition of India, he migrated to Amritsar, India, where he studied at Hindu College. He attended Punjab University, Chandigarh studying Economics and attaining 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 is the 14th and current (till this biography has written) Prime Minister of the Republic of India. He is a famous head of state from India of Sikh religion. Dr. Mahmohan Singh graduated from Punjab University in 1948 and attended Cambridge University in Britain, earning a First Class Honours degree in economics in 1957.

He continued with his graduate studies at Oxford University and achieved a doctorate in economics in 1962. He returned to India, lecturing at Punjab University and at the Delhi School of Economics. In 1971 he joined the Indian civil service as an economic adviser in the commerce ministry. His talents were quickly rewarded, and he was appointed chief economic adviser in the ministry of finance in 1972.

Singh made the transition from bureaucrat to politician in 1991 when he was appointed a member of India's upper house of parliament (the Rajya Sabha). While a member of the upper house between 1991 and 1996, he also became the finance minister in Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao's government. With Rao's support, he initiated successful economic reforms aimed at slashing India's infamous red tape, enhancing productivity, and liberalizing the economy. His goals were to end protectionism and open the Indian economy to foreign investment so that India would evolve to a mixed economy saving it from the verge of bankruptcy. As a result the economy became reinvigorated, inflation was controlled, and Indian industry began to show signs of strength.

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. He is also a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, currently serving his fourth term. Dr. Manmohan Singh previously carried out economic reforms in India during his tenure as the Finance Minister 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.

Manmohan Singh Biodata

Father's Name Mr Gurmukh Singh
Mother's Name Mrs Amrit Kaur
Date of Birth September 26, 1932
Place of Birth Village Gah (West Punjab), Now in Pakistan
Marital Status Married Since 1958
Spouse Name Gursharan Kaur
Children 3 Daughters (Upinder, Daman & Amrit)
Educational Qualifications
  • BA (Hons) in Economics, Punjab University (1952)
  • MA (First Class) in Economics, Punjab University (1954)
  • Honours degree in Economics, Cambridge (1957)
  • DPhil in Economics, Oxford (1962)
Profession Economist, Civil Servant, Social Worker & Professor
Contact Address 7, Race Course Road, New Delhi - 110011

Manmohan Singh is a graduate of Punjab University, Chandigarh, 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 the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, who chose a professional economist breaking the tradition of political appointments to Finance Ministry. Narasimha Rao took up the task of political management largely insulating Dr.Manmohan Singh from political pressure and interference. During his tenure as the Finance Minister, Singh was widely credited for carrying out liberalising reforms in India in 1991 which resulted in the weakening of Licence Raj system.

Manmohan Singh married Gursharan Kaur in 1958. However, the family has largely stayed out of the limelight. Their three daughters - Upinder, Daman and Amrit, have successful, non-political, 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 ACLU.

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 2006, 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, the Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship.

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 22 May 2004, along with the First Manmohan Singh Cabinet. After the Indian National Congress won the 2009 general elections, On 22 May 2009, Manmohan Singh was ef sworn in for his second tenure as the Prime Minister at the Asoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Manmohan Singh has undergone multiple cardiac bypass surgeries, most recently in January 2009.

Eminent writer Khushwant Singh lauded Mr. Singh as the best Prime Minister India has had; even rating him higher than Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. He mentioned of 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, Mr.Singh immediately returned Rs 2 lakh 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."

Political Career of Dr. Manmohan Singh

Singh's political career was turbulent because he was neither charismatic nor a traditional politician. He lost the only time he contested a parliamentary election for the lower house (Lok Sabha). From 1998 to 2004 he was leader of the opposition but became prime minister in May 2004 when the Congress Party won a coalition majority in the national election. This is because Sonia Gandhi turned down the prime ministership. Singh became India's first Sikh prime minister. This is impressive due to the troubled relationship between India's Sikhs and the Hindu majority during the 1980s. (In 1984 government forces stormed the sacred Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar to root out Sikh militants. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Sikh bodyguards avenged this act by assassinating her months later.)

Although governing such a diverse nation as India with a coalition is difficult, during his first two years in office Singh achieved a measure of success. The Indian economy continued to grow at an impressive rate. The fractured relationship with Pakistan showed signs of slowly improving, although the deeper issue of who controls Kashmir remained unresolved. Equally as important, political and trade relations with the United States improved considerably. The government also spearheaded a massive project aimed at eradicating rural poverty. In large part due to Manmohan Singh's reforms and pragmatic managerial style, India's economy continued to expand and under his government, showed signs of emerging as a global economic power.

Singh was always an unlikely politician, who was routed in a parliamentary election in 1999. In fact, he has never won an election and sits in the upper house. Politically, Manmohan Singh is the classic example of the stateless politician.

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 before this over 40 years ago.

In 2010, TIME magazine listed him among the 100 most influential people in the world. Newsweek magazine also lists him as one of 10 world leaders who have won respect and was described as “the leader other leaders love”.

Dr. Manmohan Singh stayed with the Congress Party despite continuous marginalization and defeats in the elections of 1996, 1998 and 1999. He did not join the rebels in a major split which occurred in 1999, when many major Congress leaders objected to Sonia Gandhi's rise as Congress President and leader of the opposition. Being touted as the Congress choice for the PM's job, she became a target for nationalists who objected to her Italian birth. It seemed that a party which turned to old links to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and a foreigner for political leadership had no future or potential to look forward to. But Singh continued as a prominent leader, rising in confidence and helping to revamp the party's platform and organization.

The Congress alliance won a surprisingly high number of seats in the Parliamentary elections of 2004, owing to a nationwide disenchantment of millions of poorer citizens with the BJP's focus on the surging middle-class, and also its dismal record in handling religious tensions. The Left Front decided to support a Congress alliance government from outside in order to keep the "communal forces" out of power. Sonia Gandhi was elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and was expected to become the Prime Minister but in a surprise move, declined to accept the post and instead nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. There were protests within the Congress about her refusal but eventually people accepted her decision and the allies too accepted her choice. Singh secured the nomination for prime minister on May 19, 2004 when President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam officially asked him to form a government. Although most expected him to head the Finance
Ministry himself, he did not do so. His political mentor Sonia Gandhi retains absolute control over the MPs and organization of the Congress Party. His appointment is notable as it comes 20 years after India witnessed significant tensions between the Indian central government and the Punjabi Sikh community.

Official State Visit at the White House

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had the first official state visit to the White House during the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. The visit took place in November 2009, and several discussions took place, including on trade and nuclear power. It was set during a wider visit to the United States by Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Manmohan Singh with US President Barack Obama
Manmohan Singh with American President Barack Obama at the White House.

Facts About Manmohan Singh

  • Being born on Sep 26, Manmohan Singh is a Libra.
  • He joined the prime minister's office on 22 May 2004.
  • He is the 14th prime minister of India.
  • He was the Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission from 15 January 1985 to 31 August 1987.
  • He was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 15 September 1982 to 15 January 1985.
  • His wife's name is Gursharan Kaur.
  • He belongs to Sikh Religion.
  • He has worked with 2 Presidents; Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam & Pratibha Patil.
  • He preceded Atal Bihari Vajpayee (BJP) as the Prime Minister of India.
  • His ethnicity is Asian/Indian.
  • He attended the BA Economics, Punjab University (in 1952).

Positions Held by Dr. Manmohan Singh

  • Chief, Financing for Trade Section, UNCTAD, United Nations Secretariat, Manhattan, New York
  • Economic Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Trade, India (1971-1972)
  • Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, India, (1972-1976)
  • Honorary Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (1976)
  • Director, Reserve Bank of India (1976-1980)
  • Director, Industrial Development Bank of India (1976-1980)
  • Secretary, Ministry of Finance (Department of Economic Affairs), Government of India, (1977-1980)
  • Governor, Reserve Bank of India (1982-1985)
  • Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India, (1985-1987)
  • Secretary General, South Commission, Geneva (1987-1990)
  • Advisor to Prime Minister of India on Economic Affairs (1990-1991)
  • Finance Minister of India, (21 June 1991 - 15 May 1996)
  • Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (1998-2004)
  • Prime Minister of India (22 May 2004 - Present)