Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh turns 89 today and the nation salutes one of the most visionary prime ministers of India.
Dr. Manmohan Singh, India’s 13th and first Sikh Prime Minister who held on to be the prime minister for two consecutive terms, from 2004 to 2014. He was the great brainpower behind the 1991 economic reforms as the Union finance minister under then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao.
Here are some of the remarkable reforms and moves he made that revolutionized India.
- He stabilized the Indian economy and maintained an average economic growth during UPA I & II at 7.7%.
- During one of the worst global crises, his policies shielded India from an economic crash during the 2007-8 financial crises and stimulus packages, with RBI easing monetary conditions that helped the Indian economy to bounce back.
- ASHA worker scheme which Dr. Manmohan Singh, implemented was a powerful popular scheme reaching out to primary health in rural areas, opening health services to the grass-roots level by creating awareness on health, and mobilizing the community towards local health planning.
- Propogated special economic zones for export promotion wherein this helped to trigger a large flow of foreign and domestic investment in SEZs, in infrastructure and productive capacity, leading to generation of additional economic activity and creation of employment opportunities.
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee act 2005 NREGA under Dr. Manmohan Singh enhanced livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
- Forest Rights Act 2006 (FRA), 2006 introduced by Dr. Singh recognizes the rights of the forest-dwelling tribal communities and other traditional forest dwellers to forest resources, on which these communities were dependent for a variety of needs, including livelihood, habitation, and other socio-cultural needs. The forest management policies, including the Acts, Rules, and Forest Policies of Participatory Forest Management policies in both colonial and post-colonial India, did not, till the enactment of this Act, recognize the symbiotic relationship of the STs with the forests, reflected in their dependence on the forest as well as in their traditional wisdom regarding conservation of the forests.
- Right to Information and Lokpal/Lokayuktas Act came into force in 2013, commonly known as The Lokpal Act, is an anti-corruption Act of Indian Parliament in India which “seeks to provide for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain important public functionaries including the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, members of parliament, Group A officials of the Central Government and for matters connecting them”.
- National Food Security Act. 2013: This was passed by the Parliament, Government has notified the National Food Security Act, 2013 on 10th September 2013 with the goal to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.
- Right to Fair Compensation and transparency in Land Acquisition 2013: An Act to ensure, in consultation with institutions of local self-government and Gram Sabhas established under the Constitution, a humane, participative, informed and transparent process for land acquisition for industrialization, development of essential infrastructural facilities and urbanization with the least disturbance to the owners of the land and other affected families and provide just and fair compensation to the affected families whose land has been acquired or proposed to be acquired or are affected by such acquisition and make adequate provisions for such affected persons for their rehabilitation and resettlement and for ensuring that the cumulative outcome of compulsory acquisition should be that affected persons become partners in development leading to an improvement in their post-acquisition social and economic status and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- Mandatory 2% CSR to be paid by companies as per Companies Act 2013: This provides the threshold limit for applicability of the CSR to a Company thus providing more definition and accountability.
- Indo-US civil nuclear deal: The Indian government under Mr. Signh agreed to sign a 123 Agreement (or the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement). The Indo-US nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in 2008, which gave a stimulus to the ties between the two nations, which since then have been on an upswing.
- Right to Education Act 2009: The main objective of the RTE Act is to ensure that each child in India receives quality elementary education irrespective of their economic or caste background; this includes children who are forced to drop out of school. The Right to Education Act 2009 prohibits all kinds of physical punishment and mental harassment, discrimination based on gender, caste, class, and religion, screening procedures for admission of children capitation fee, private tuition centers, and functioning of unrecognized schools
His visionary policies lifted 27 crore Indians out of the poverty line, approximately 270 million people out of poverty during the period of 2005 to 2015 due to his schemes ensuring no Indian went to bed hungry. Indians living in rural India benefitted marvelously from his schemes and India thrived due to his economic brilliance.
I end by saying, the demeaning biopic and big flop movie, The Accidental Prime Minister did not do any justice to Dr. Manmohan Singh who indeed rises far above the humiliating drives of the story, and today Dr. Manmohan Singh awakens India to the startling realization, for some people a bit too late, that Singh is truly King!
Thank you and Happy Birthday Dr. Manmohan Singh!