Manmohan Singh Famouspunjabi

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab, British India, into a Sikh family. He lost his mother when he was very young and was raised by his paternal grandmother, to whom he was very close. After the Partition of India, his family migrated to Amritsar, India, where he studied at Hindu College. He attended Panjab University, Chandigarh, then in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, studying Economics and got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1952 and 1954, respectively, standing first throughout his academic career. Manmohan Singh completed his Economics Tripos at University of Cambridge as he was a member of St John’s College in 1957. In a 2005 interview with the British journalist Mark Tully, Singh said about his Cambridge days:- “At (Cambridge) university I first became conscious of the creative role of politics in shaping human affairs, and I owe that mostly to my teachers Joan Robinson and Nicholas Kaldor. Joan Robinson was a brilliant teacher, but she also sought to awaken the inner conscience of her students in a manner that very few others were able to achieve. She questioned me a great deal and made me think the unthinkable. She propounded the left wing interpretation of Keynes, maintaining that the state has to play more of a role if you really want to combine development with social equity. Kaldor influenced me even more; I found him pragmatic, scintillating, stimulating. Joan Robinson was a great admirer of what was going on in China, but Kaldor used the Keynesian analysis to demonstrate that capitalism could be made to work.”
After Cambridge, Singh returned to India to his teaching position at Punjab University. In 1960, he went to the University of Oxford for the D.Phil where he was a member of Nuffield College. His 1962 doctoral thesis under supervision of IMD Little was titled “India’s export performance, 1951–1960, export prospects and policy implications”, and was later the basis for his book “India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth” After completing his D.Phil, Manmohan Singh returned to India until 1966 when he went to work for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 1966–1969. He worked as the advisor of Ministry of Foreign Trade, who was appointed by Lalit Narayan Mishra after recognising Singh’s talent as an economist. In 1969, Singh became a Professor of International Trade at the Delhi School of Economics. In 1972, Singh was Chief Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance and in 1976 he was Secretary in the Finance Ministry. In 1980-1982 he was at the Planning Commission, and in 1982, he was appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank of India under then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and held the post until 1985. He went on to become the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987.Following his tenure at the Planning Commission, he was Secretary General of the South Commission, an independent economic policy think tank headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland from 1987 to November 1990. Manmohan Singh returned to India from Geneva in November 1990 and held the post as the Advisor to Prime Minister of India on Economic Affairs during the tenure of V. P. Singh. In March 1991, he became Chairman of the Union Public Services Commission and subsequently became Chairman of University Grants Commission. In June 1991, India’s Prime Minister at the time, P.V. Narasimha Rao, chose Singh to be his Finance Minister. Singh told Mark Tully the British journalist in 2005 ““On the day (Rao) was formulating his cabinet, he sent his Principal Secretary to me saying, `The PM would like you to become the Minister of Finance’. I didn’t take it seriously. He eventually tracked me down the next morning, rather angry, and demanded that I get dressed up and come to Rashtrapati Bhavan for the swearing in. So that’s how I started in politics”. At this time, India’s fiscal deficit was close to 8.5 per cent of the gross domestic product, the balance of payments deficit was huge and the current account deficit was close to 3.5 percent of India’s GDP. India’s foreign reserves barely amounted to US$1 billion, enough to pay for a few weeks of imports, in comparison to US$283 billion today. Evidently, India was facing an economic crisis. At this point, the government of India sought relief from the supranational International Monetary Fund, which, while assisting India financially, imposed several conditions regarding India’s economic policy. In effect, IMF-dictated policy meant that the ubiquitous Licence Raj had to be dismantled, and India’s attempt at a state-controlled economy had to end. Accordingly, Manmohan Singh , who had thus far been one of the most influential architects of India’s socialist economy, slowly opened the Indian economy to foreign investment and business competition. Rao and Singh thus implemented policies to open up the economy and change India’s socialist economy to a more capitalistic one, in the process dismantling the Licence Raj, a system that inhibited the prosperity of private businesses. They removed many obstacles standing in the way of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and initiated the process of the privatisation of public sector companies. However, in spite of these reforms, Rao’s government was voted out in 1996 due to non-performance of government in other areas. In praise of Singh’s work that pushed India towards a market economy, long-time Cabinet minister P. Chidambaram has referred to Singh as the Deng Xiaoping of India. In 1993, Singh offered his resignation from the post of Finance Minister after a parliamentary investigation report criticised his ministry for not being able to anticipate a US$1.8 billion securities scandal. Prime Minister Rao refused Singh’s resignation, instead promising to punish the individuals directly accused in the report. Manmohan Singh was first elected to the upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, in 1991 by the legislature of the state of Assam, and was re-elected in 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2013. From 1998 to 2004, while the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power, Manmohan Singh was the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha .