Dr. Manmohan Singh, who served as the 14th Prime Minister of India, is the most educated Prime Minister our country has ever had. He has often been mocked by the Indians as “The Silent P.M.” which is nothing but disrespect for a man of his stature. In fact, he is ‘the highest qualified prime minister’ in the world. He is known for his integrity, honesty, knowledge and intelligence in economic and financial matters.
Dr. Manmohan Singh was born on 26th September 1932 in a small village Gah of Punjab which is now currently in Pakistan. He completed his doctorate degree in Economics from The Oxford University. Since then he has held some of the most important positions in the Government Of India such as Chief Economic Advisor, Reserve Bank Governor and Planning Commission Head. It was this man who liberalized the economy of India during the economic crisis which India suffered in 1991. The then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao appointed him as the Finance Minister in order to get India out of this crisis. During the next few years he carried out some structural reforms the liberalized the Indian economy. His measures proved successful in order to overcome this crisis and this rsulted in increasing his reputation globally as ‘a reform-minded economist’. Later he served as the Leader of Opposition from 1998-2004. Then, he became the Prime Minister of India in 2004 and continued till 2014. He is only the second Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru who was re-elected after completing his full five-year term.
Dr. Singh though never had won a seat in the Lok Sabha election but people of India have always had faith in him. According to BBC, he “has enjoyed massive popular support, not least because he was seen by many as a clean politician untouched by the taint of corruption that has run through many Indian administrations.” During his tenure as a Finance Minister, he freed India from the License Raj which was the reason for India`s slow economic growth and corruption in the economy for many decades. It was his economic policy through which India became the ‘second fastest growing major economy in the world’ in the year 2009 when India got its highest ever GDP growth rate of 9%. He replaced Sales tax by Value Added Tax in the year 2005. American economist Jeffrey Sachs praised his and his government`s initiative of starting the National rural Health Mission which has mobilized half a million community health workers. During his tenure, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was also started which includes starting schools all over the country especially in rural areas and introducing the mid-day meals. Several improvements were made in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(UAPA) and National Investigation Agency and Unique Identification Authority Of India were also created during his tenure. The important National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(NREGA) and the Right to Information Act were passed by the Parliament during his tenure. The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act include the other legislations that were started during his tenure. His foreign policy helped India maintain good relations with countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, China, Japan, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Israel and Russia.
‘The Independent’ described him as “one of the world’s most revered leaders” and “a man of uncommon decency and grace”. The ‘Newsweek magazine’ recognized him as a world leader who is respected even by other heads of state and by other parties also, describing him as “the leader other leaders love.” ‘Henry Kissinger’ described Singh as “a statesman with vision, persistence and integrity”, and praised him for his “leadership, which has been instrumental in the economic transformation underway in India.” Australian journalist Greg Sheridan praised Singh “as one of the greatest statesmen in Asian history.” He also received the World Statesman Award in 2010 and was ranked 18 on the 2010 Forbes list of the world’s most powerful people. He is even considered the best Prime Minister India has ever had by many opposition leaders.
Dr. Singh was awarded the Doctor of Letters by the Panjab University in the year 1983 and an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree by the University of Alberta in the year 1997. The University of Oxford awarded him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in July 2005 and the University of Cambridge followed with the same honour in the year 2006. There is a PhD Scholarship after him, the Dr. Manmohan Singh Scholarship which has been honored upon him by the St. John`s College. In the year 2008, he was awarded the honorary Doctor of Letters Degree by Benaras Hindu University and an honorary Doctorate Degree by University of Madras. In the year 2010, he was awarded honorary Doctorate Degree by King Saud University. In the year 2013, he was awarded honorary Doctorate Degree by Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
“History will be kinder to me than the contemporary media and the opposition parties in Parliament” – Dr. Manmohan Singh