The 13th Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, celebrates his 90th birthday on 26 September. Prior to his role as prime minister, he served as India's Finance Minister from 1991 to 1996.
Born in 1932, Singh acted as the 13th Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014. He is the third-longest serving prime minister, trailing only Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. A member of the Congress Party, Singh was the first Sikh to hold the office of prime minister in India. Furthermore, he was the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full term.
Between 1970 and 1980, Singh occupied key positions such as Chief Economic Advisor (1972–1976), Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (1982–1985), and Head of the Planning Commission (1985–1987).
After his tenure at the Planning Commission, he served as the Secretary-General of the South Commission, an independent economic policy think tank based in Geneva, from 1987 to 1990. Upon returning to India from Geneva in November 1990, Singh took on the role of advisor to the Prime Minister of India on economic affairs during the term of Chandra Shekhar. In March 1991, he was appointed Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
As finance minister, Singh was instrumental in key decisions that helped reform the Indian economy.
In 1991, Finance Minister Singh was involved in reforms that included lowering trade barriers, dismantling the License Raj system, and opening key sectors to foreign investment.
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (2000)
Initiated in 2000, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana aimed to provide all-weather road connectivity to rural areas, thereby encouraging rural development.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2005)
Under Singh's leadership, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was launched in 2005. The programme was later renamed the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). It aimed to provide a minimum of 100 days of employment per year to rural households.
Right to Information Act (2005)
The Right to Information (RTI) Act empowered Indian citizens to request information from governmental agencies.
The Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement (2005)
One of Singh's key foreign policy initiatives was the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement, commonly referred to as the 123 Agreement.