Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh (born 26 September 1932) is the 13th and current Prime Minister of India. A renowned economist, he is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term, and the first Sikh to hold the office.

Born in Gah (now in Punjab, Pakistan), Singh's family migrated to India during its partition in 1947. After obtaining his doctorate in economics from Oxford, Singh worked for the United Nations in 1966-69. He subsequently began his bureaucratic career when Lalit Narayan Mishra hired him as an advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Over the 70s and 80s, Singh held several key posts in the Government of India, such as Chief Economic Advisor (1972-76), Reserve Bank Governor (1982-85) and Planning Commission head (1985-87).

In 1991, as India faced a severe economic crisis, newly elected Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao surprisingly inducted the apolitical Singh into his cabinet as Finance Minister. Over the next few years, despite strong opposition, Finance Minister Singh carried out several structural reforms that liberalised India's economy. Although these measures proved successful in averting the crisis, and enhanced Singh's reputation globally as a leading reform-minded economist, the incumbent Congress party fared poorly in the 1996 general election. Subsequently, Singh served as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of India's Parliament) during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government of 1998-2004.

In 2004, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power, its chairperson Sonia Gandhi unexpectedly relinquished the premiership to Manmohan Singh. This Singh-led "UPA I" government executed several key legislations and projects, including the Rural Health Mission, Unique Identification Authority, Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and Right to Information Act. In 2008, opposition to a historic civil nuclear agreement with the United States nearly caused Singh's government to fall after Left Front parties withdrew their support. Although India's economy grew rapidly under UPA I, its security was threatened by several terrorist incidents (culminating in the 2008 Mumbai attacks) and a growing Maoist insurgency.

The 2009 general election saw the UPA return with an increased mandate, with Manmohan Singh retaining the office of Prime Minister.