PROFILE - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Fri Apr 8, 2011 3:13pm IST

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks during a news conference in New Delhi December 21, 2010. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks during a news conference in New Delhi December 21, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur/Files

Related Topics

Position: Prime Minister of India

Incumbent: Dr. Manmohan Singh

Date of Birth: Sept. 26, 1932

Term: May 2009 to date. This is his second straight five-year stint as prime minister. Unlikely to run for office in future.

Key facts:

-- Singh's reputation was forged in his time as finance minister in the 1990s, when he pushed through a series of economic reforms which set the stage for India's subsequent boom and entry onto the world stage as a rising economic power.

-- He seemed an unlikely choice for prime minister, thrust into the limelight only because Sonia Gandhi, head of the Congress party, turned down the top job after winning elections in 2004. Time and again, Singh seemed dwarfed by Gandhi and too weak to discipline a cabinet of often-squabbling ministers and senior party leaders.

-- Under fire since late 2010 for a series of corruption scandals tht have blocked the progress of laws through parliament, Singh appeared on television in February to say he was not a "lame duck" leader.

-- A career technocrat, the grey-bearded, bespectacled economist acquired his global orientation working at various international organizations, including the United Nations, making him a less insular prime minister than many of his predecessors.

-- A former central bank governor, Singh supports making the Indian rupee more convertible. He has also raised the bar on economic expansion and wants India to grow 10 percent a year, firmly believing that this is the only weapon to fight poverty in a country with 450 million poor.

-- He is the first Indian prime minister to hold a doctorate. Born into a poor Sikh family in a western province now in Pakistan, Singh won scholarships to Cambridge and Oxford, earning a doctorate with a thesis on the critical role of exports and free trade in India's economy. But he has never won an election and sits in the mostly nominated upper house of parliament.

-- People who have known and worked with Singh for more than a decade describe him as an anti-politician, a quiet, hard-working man and a deep thinker who shuns the perks and corruption that many Indian politicians thrive on. Singh likes a spartan lifestyle. His attire consists of trademark sky-blue turban while lunch and dinner are two rotis -- a flat Indian bread -- and lentils.

-- Singh has been putting in 14-hour days, devouring files and coming to grips with the complexities of running a hugely diverse country of 1.2 billion people. Singh doesn't deny he is a politician by accident. He once said: "The greatness of democracy is that we are all birds of passage. We are here today, gone tomorrow. But in the brief time that the people entrust us with this responsibility it is our duty to be honest and sincere in the discharge of these responsibilities."

(Reporting by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Top News

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Sarita's Suspension

Sarita's Suspension

India hope to get boxer Sarita Devi's suspension reversed.  Full Article 

Fighting IS

Fighting IS

U.S.-led air strikes killed 553 fighters, 32 civilians in Syria - monitor.  Full Article 

'Zero Hunger' Goal

'Zero Hunger' Goal

India sees Brazil as a "role model" in beating hunger.  Full Article 

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Bilawal, scion of Pakistan's Bhutto dynasty, throws down gauntlet to PM.  Full Article 

Modi's Reforms

Modi's Reforms

Modi takes first bite at coal to end India's power mess  Full Article 

Champions League

Champions League

Ronaldo leads rout as Real outclass Liverpool.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Official WHO Ebola toll near 5,000 with true number nearer 15,000.  Full Article 

New Google Mail

New Google Mail

Google launches new email service dubbed "Inbox"  Full Article 

What's Next?

What's Next?

Fears for tough penalties grow as India cleans up business.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage