DR.MANMOHAN SINGH – LIBERATOR OF INDIAN ECONOMY

Dr. Manmohan Singh is the fourteenth, and current, Prime Minister of India. He was born on 26 September, 1932, Gah, West Punjab (now in Pakistan) and is member of the left-of-centre Indian National Congress party. A Sikh by faith, Singh was sworn in on May 22, 2004.

A rather low-key politician, Manmohan Singh enjoys a “squeaky clean” image and was advisor to opposition chief Sonia Gandhi throughout the election campaign in 2004 and their time in the
opposition. He was awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2002. Singh’s elevation to the most important national office came when Sonia Gandhi herself refused to take the top job, in view of the massive opposition she could have faced on account of her Italian antecedents. Although many critics and opposition leaders routinely criticize Gandhi as being the real power, or indeed a de-facto ruler, Singh is held in high esteem, and regard, all over the country and the world.

Singh has been married since 1958; he and his wife have three daughters.

Economic Reforms

Singh is regarded as the architect of India’s original economic reform programme. His policies of economic liberalization, serving in his capacity as Finance Minister under the government of Narasimha Rao in the early 1990s, brought the country back from a looming economic bankruptcy. Now the country is enjoying record economic growth on the foundations laid by him. Singh is an economist by training, and has formerly served in the International Monetary Fund. He was educated at Nuffield College, Oxford, St John’s College, Cambridge and Punjab University; he holds a doctorate in economics from Oxford.

Although his economic policies – which included the reduction of several redundant socialist policies – were widely popular, especially among the middle class, Singh lost his seat to the Lok
Sabha from South Delhi in 1999. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam since 1991 and the upper house leader of the opposition from 1998 – 2004 when India was governed by the right-of-center Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

Although an economic modernization plan presented by Singh was rejected by the Congress Party, which avowed itself to socialism, the reforms he introduced are regarded as primarily responsible for the present economic boom the country enjoys, and considered irreversible in face of the real progress achieved.

Ascent to Power

Dr. Manmohan Singh, an economic bureaucrat, was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in the late 1980s. In 1991, he was asked to head the Finance Ministry by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, who was aware of an acute economic crisis due to decades of stagnant socialist policies and a government riddled by fractious alliances, corruption and imcompetence. The crisis was so bad that the Government was about to mortgage its gold reserves to the Bank of England to obtain the cash reserves to run the country. All this while more than 400 million people starved and struggled in poverty and miserable living conditions.

Achieving an economic turn-around in two years, Dr. Singh was hailed as a hero, although the Rao
administration was unpopular thanks to scandals, its parliamentary status as a minority government, and religious violence all over the country. Although its dissolution in 1996 marked the end of Rao’s political career, Dr. Singh exited without bruises.

Dr. Singh stayed with the Congress Party despite continuous marginalization and defeats in the elections of 1996, 1998 and 1999. He did not join the rebels in a major split which occurred in 1999, when many major Congress leaders objected to Sonia Gandhi’s rise as Congress President and Leader of the Opposition. Being touted as the Congress choice for the PM’s job, she became a target for nationalists who objected to her Italian birth. It seemed that a party which turned to old links to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and a foreigner for political leadership had no future or potential to look forward to. But Singh continued as a prominent leader, rising in confidence and helping to revamp the party’s platform and organization.

The Congress alliance won a surprisingly high number of seats in the Parliamentary elections of 2004, owing to a nationwide disenchantment of millions of poorer citizens with the BJP’s focus on the surging middle-class, and also its dismal record in handling religious tensions. The Left Front decided to support a Congress alliance government from outside in order to keep the “communal forces” out of power. Sonia Gandhi was elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and was expected to become the Prime Minister but in a surprise move, declined to accept the post and instead nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. There were protests within the Congress about her refusal but eventually people accepted her decision and the allies too accepted her choice. Singh secured the nomination for prime minister on May 19, 2004 when President of India President Abdul Kalam. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam officially asked him to form a government. Although most expected him to head the Finance Ministry himself, he did not do so. His political mentor Sonia Gandhi retains absolute control over the MPs and organization of the Congress Party.

His appointment is notable as it comes 20 years after India witnessed significant tensions between
the Indian central government and the Punjabi Sikh community. After Congress Party Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the mother-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, ordered central government troops to storm the Golden Temple (the holiest site in Sikhism) in Amritsar, Punjab to quell a separatist movement, she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. The result was a tremendous nationwide crisis in which many innocent Sikhs were murdered in riots.

Tenure as Prime Minister

Singh has been Prime Minister for little over a year, and his remains a fairly popular government. His image is of an intellectual, a political leader of integrity (a common public perception denounces virtually every other as corrupt and tainted), compassionate and attentive to common people. Although legislative achievements have been few and the Congress-led alliance is routinely hampered by conflicts and scandals, Singh’s administration has focused on reducing the fiscal deficit, providing debt-relief to poor farmers, extending social programs and advancing the pro-industry economic and tax policies that have launched the country on its major economic expansion course since 2002. Being a Sikh from a secular-socialist party, Singh has been the image of the Congress campaign to defuse religious tensions and conflicts and bolster political support from minorities like Muslims, Christians, and of course, Sikhs.

The Prime Minister’s foreign policy has been to continue the new peace process with Pakistan initiated by his predecessor, Atal Behari Vajpayee. Exchange visits by top leaders from both countries have highlighted this year, as has reduced terrorism and increased prosperity in the
state of Kashmir. The peace process has also been used by the government to build stronger relations with the United States, China and European nations.

But the Government suffered a setback when it lost the support of a key ally, Russia, for its bid for a permanent membership to the U.N. Security Council with veto privileges. Plans to expand the Council and reform the U.N. did not empower the nation’s role as an Asian leader, although foreign leaders and its own hail it as the next Asian economic and strategic giant.

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Checkout the ASCII Art of Dr.Manmohan Singh in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

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BARACK OBAMA – FIRST AFRO PRESIDENT OF AMERICA

Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961 to a Kenyan father and an American mother. Obama’s parents, Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham met while studying at the University of Hawaii. Obama spent his early years in Honolulu before moving to Indonesia at the age of six. Obama’s parents separated when he was two years old. His mother later married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian. The family moved to Jakarta in 1967.

After staying for four years in Indonesia, Obama returned to Honolulu to study at the Punahou school. He studied at the Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before moving to the Columbia University in New York City. Obama graduated from the Columbia University in 1983 with a major in Political Science and a specialization in International Relations.

After his graduation, Obama worked at the Business International Corporation and the New York Public Interest Research Group. In 1985, he moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer. Later, in 1988, Obama joined the Harvard Law School. He went on to become the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated from the law school in 1991.

Barack Obama met Michelle Robinson in 1989, whom he married in 1992. Michelle and Barack have two daughters. Obama played several roles professionally between 1993 and 2004. He worked as a lawyer for the law firm, David, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He also worked as a part-time lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School from 1993 to 2004; he taught constitutional law at the law school. Obama also served as a board member at the Woods Fund of Chicago, a philanthropic organization.

In 1996, Obama was elected to the Illinois senate. He was elected again in 1998 and 2002. In 2000, he lost a primary for the United States House of Representatives. In 2003, Obama was appointed the chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee. Obama became a United States Senator in late 2004 to become the fifth Afro-American Senator in history. He secured 70% votes.

In 1991, while being in-charge of a voter registration drive in Chicago, Obama began writing a book of memoirs that was later published in 1995 as Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. Obama wrote another book later that was published in 2006. The book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream went on to become a part of the New York Times Best Seller list.

Once elected into the state Senate of Illinois, Obama took deep interest in reforms and policies, making and changing some consequently. He initiated the requirement of mandatorily videotaping interrogations in cases of homicide. He enthusiastically participated in creating the Earned Income Tax Credit program for state, meant for helping people in the low-income groups. He went on to initiate reforms in the fields of healthcare and childcare. An interesting law that came into being because of him was the law to monitor racial profiling. It became mandatory to note the race of the drivers that are detained by the state police.

Following his election into the United States Senate, Obama showed extreme interest in immigration reforms and border security improvements. He became a co-sponsor of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act; the act was introduced by John McCain, his Republican rival who ran for the United States Presidential post. A year later, Obama also favored another security bill that later became the Secure Fence Act.

Obama, in association with Tom Coburn, brought the Coburn-Obama Transparency Act into being; the act made the government expenditure transparent via a website called the USAspending.gov. Also, in association with the Republican, Richard Lugar, a Lugar-Obama program went on to make additions to the existing Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept. In 2007, Obama, in association with Senator Russ Feingold, brought into being the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. He later introduced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007. Last year in February, he declared that he will be running for the post of the President of the United States. He has showed his dislike to negative campaigning. Obama has been advocating an end to the war in Iraq, a universal health care mechanism and increased energy independence as his most important agendas in his manifesto.

Obama has surprised his critics by raising enormous amount of money through his campaigns. In January this year, his campaign raised 36.8 million US dollars, the highest amount raised ever in the Democratic primaries. In the first six months of his campaign last year, 58 million US dollars were raised, breaking earlier records. Following a series of hate mail sent to Obama, the US Secret Service instated special protection for Obama. “Fired up! Ready to go!” is a cry doing the rounds at Obama’s campaigns. Barack Obama has been voted as 44th president of the USA. He won the election battle against John McCain. He is the first afro-american president. Obama has been dubbed as the most liberal Senator in his political life. In his personal life, he plays basketball and claims to be a good poker player.

During his presidential transition, President-elect Obama announced that he would retain the incumbent Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, in his Cabinet. On February 27, 2009, Obama declared that combat operations would end in Iraq within 18 months. His remarks were made to a group of Marines preparing for deployment to Afghanistan. Obama said, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” The drawdown is scheduled to be completed by August 2010, decreasing troops levels from 142,000 while leaving a transitional force of 35,000 to 50,000 in Iraq until the end of 2011. The plan is to transition the mission of the remaining troops from combat operations to counter-terrorism and the training, equipping, and advising of Iraqi security forces.

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. President Barack Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the award on October 9, 2009, citing Obama’s promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and a “new climate” in international relations fostered by Obama, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world. Obama is the fourth U.S. President to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, after Theodore Roosevelt (1906) and Woodrow Wilson (1919)—both of whom received the award during their terms—and Jimmy Carter (2002), who received the award 21 years after leaving office.

Checkout the ASCII Art of Barack Obama in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

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