Debating India


Sometimes Nice Guys Finish First

Wednesday 19 May 2004

Way back in February, we had called him The Alternative - and predicted that if the Congress-led coalition breasts the tape, Manmohan Singh could be prime minister. President Kalam’s letter inviting him to form the government finally puts an end to the last two days of political drama. Plus, coverage from the archives.

Text of President APJ Kalam’s letter to Manmohan Singh: "Dear Dr Manmohan Singh,

I know that you have been elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and have the majority support of the House of the People. I have pleasure to apppoint you as Prime Minister and request you to advise me as to name the others to be appointed as members of the Council of Ministers.

You will kindly indicate to me the date and time of the swearing-in ceremony to be held in Rashtrapati Bhavan at your convenience."

Manmohan Singh: An Overview

Father: Gurmukh Singh Mother: Amrit Kaur Date of Birth: 26 September 1932 Place of Birth: Gah (West Punjab, now in Pakistan) Marital Status: Married on 14 September 1958 Wife: Gursharan Kaur Children: Three daughters Educational Qualifications: M.A., D.Phil. (Oxford), D.Litt. (Honoris Causa) Educated at University of Panjab, Cambridge and Oxford Permanent Address: H.No. 192 (ka) Post 75, Ward 34, P.O. & P.S. Dispur, Distt. Kamrup, Guwahati-6 (Assam) [Because this is where Congress could first ensure his Rajya Sabha membership from.] Present Address: 19, Safdarjung Road, New Delhi-110011 Tel : 3015470, 3018668 Fax : 3015603 E-mail : [till of course he shifts to 7, Racecourse Road]

Positions Held:

1957-59: Senior Lecturer, Economics, Punjab University, Chandigarh

1959-63: Reader, Economics, Punjab University, Chandigarh

1963-65: Professor, Economics, Punjab University, Chandigarh

1966: Economic Affairs Officer, U.N.C.T.A.D., United Nations Secretariat, New York

1966-69: Chief, Financing for Trade section, U.N.C.T.A.D., United Nations Secretariat, New York

1969-71: Professor, International Trade, Delhi School of Economics.

1971-72: Economic Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Trade, India

1972-76: Chief Economic Adivsor, Ministry of Finance, India

1976-80: Director, Reserve Bank of India Director, Industrial Development Bank of India Alternate Governor for India, Board of Governors, Asian Development Bank, Manila Alternate Governor for India, Board of Governors, I.B.R.D.

Nov. 1976-April 1980: Secretary, Ministry of Finance (Department of Economic Affairs), Government of India

April 1980-15 Spet. 1982: Member-Sectary, Planning Commission 1980-83: Chairman, India Committee of the Indo-Japan Joint Study Committee

16 Sept. 1982-14 Jan 1985: Governor, Reserve Bank of India

1982-85: Alternate Governor of India, Board of Governors, IMF

1983-84: Member, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister

1985: President, Indian Economic Association 15 Jan. 1985-31 July 1987: Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission 1 Aug. 1987-10 Nov. 1990: Secretary-General and Commissioner, South Commission

10 Dec. 1990-14 March 1991: Advisor to Prime Minister of India on Economic Affairs

15 March 1991-20 June 1991: Chairman, U.G.C.

21 June 1991-15 May 1996: Union Finance Minister Oct.

1991: Elected to Rajya Sabha

1991-1995: Governor for India on the Board of Governors of the IMF and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development

June 1995: Re-elected to Rajya Sabha

1996 onwards: Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Finance

1 Aug, 1996-4 Dec, 1997: Chairman, Committee of Commerce

1996-97: Member, Finance, Atomic Energy Commission, Government of India Member, Finance, Space Commission, Government of India

21 March 1998 onwards: Leader of the Opposition, Rajya Sabha

5 June 1998 onwards: Member, Committee on Finance

13 Aug. 1998 onwards: Member, Committee on Rules Member, Committee of Privileges

2000 onwards: Member, Executive Committee, Indian Parliamentary Group

June 2001: Re-elected to Rajya Sabha

August 2001 onwards: Member, General Purposes Committee

Books Published:

Author of a book entitled "India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth" Clarendon Press, Oxford University, 1964; also published a large number of articles in various economic journals

Other Honours:

Recipient of honorary degrees of D. Litt. from Panjab University, Chandigarh, Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, Delhi University, Delhi, Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupathi, Panjabi University, Patiala, University of Mysore, Mysore, University of Bologna, Italy, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Osmania University, Hyderabad, Nagarjuna University, Jagarjunanagar and Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Agra

Recipient of honorary degree of

Doctor of Laws from University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada,

Doctor of Social Sciences from University of Roorkee, Roorkee,

D. Sc. from Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hissar, and Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala


University Medal for standing first in B.A. (Hons.), Economics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, 1952,

Uttar Chand Kapur Medal, Panjab University, Chandigarh, for standing first in M.A. (Economics), 1954,

Wright’s Prize for distinguished performance at St. John’s College, Cambridge, 1956 and 1957,

Adam Smith Prize, University of Cambridge, UK, 1956

Padma Vibhushan, 1987,

Euromoney Award, Finance Minister of the year, 1993,

Asiamoney Award, Finance Minister of the Year for Asia, 1993 and 1994,

Jawaharlal Nehru Brith Centenary Award of the Indian Science Congress Association, 1994-95,

Justice KS Hegde Foundation Award, 1996,

Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc.

(N.I.K.K.E.I.), publisher of Japan’s leading business dayly, 1997 and (xi) Lokmanya Tilak Award by the Tilak Smarak Trust, Pune, 1997


H.H. Kanchi Sri Parmacharya Award for Excellence, 1999

Annasaheb Chirmule Award, 2000

Other Honours:

Elected, Wrenbury Scholar, University of Cambridge, 1957

Honorary Professor, (i) Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 1976 and (ii) Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, 1996

Deputy for India in IMF Committee of Twenty on International Monetary Reform, 1972-74

Participated in Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting, Kingston, 1975

Associate, Meetings of IMF Interim Committee and Joint Fund-Bank Development Committee, 1976-80 and 1982-85

Fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi since 1999

National Fellow, National Institute of Education N.C.E.R.T., 1986

Honorary Fellow, (i) St. John’s College, Cambridge, U.K., 1982, (ii) Indian Institute of Bankers, 1982, (iii) All India Management Association, 1993 and (iv) Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Oxford, 1994

Leader, Indian Delegation to (i) Aid-India Consortium Meetings, 1977-79, (ii) Indo-Soviet Joint Planning Group Meeting, 1980-82, (iii) Indo-Soviet Monotoring Group Meeting, 1982, (iv) Commonwalth Head of Government Meeting, Cyprus, 1993 and (v) Human Rights World Conference, Vienna, 1993

Attended as member of Indian delegations:

(i) Meeting of U.N.C.T.A.D. trade and Development Board, Geneva, May 1971-July 1972,

(ii) Ministerial Meeting of Group of 77, Lima, October, 1971,

(iii) Third Session of U.N.C.T.A.D., Santiago, April-May, 1972,

(iv) Annual Meetings of IMF, I.B.R.D. and Commonwealth Finance Ministers, 1972-79, (v) Aid-India Consortium Meetings, Paris, 1973-79,

(vi) Cancun Summit on North-South Issues, 1981 and (vii) South-South Consultations, New Delhi, 1982;

Represented Secretary-General, U.N.C.T.A.D., at several Inter-Governmental meetings, including Second Session of U.N.C.T.A.D., 1968 and Committee on Invisibles and Financing related to Trade Consultant to U.N.C.T.A.D., E.S.C.A.P. and Commonwealth Secretariat.


Gymkhana Club, New Delhi; Life Member, (i) India International centre and (ii) Indian Economic Association; Founder Member, India Habitat Centre


in Outlook India, Wednesday, May 19, 2004.

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