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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MOUSAVI MIR HOSSEIN – THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONIST

Mousavi Mir Hossein, born on 2nd March 1942 is an Iranian politician, painter, architect who served as the fifth and last Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989. He was the last prime minister in Iran before the constitutional changes which removed the post of prime minister. Before that, he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is currently the president of Iranian Academy of Arts. He is also a member of the Expediency Discernment Council and the High Council of Cultural Revolution, but he has not been participating in their meetings for a long time which is interpreted by political analysts and commentators as a sign of his disapproval. Mousavi holds a Masters degree in Architecture from Shahid Beheshti University (melli). In the early years of the revolution, Mousavi was the editor-in-chief of the official newspaper of the Islamic Republic Party, the Jomhouri-e Eslami (Islamic Republic) newspaper.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi is well-remembered, incredibly respected and praised by many Iranians across the political spectrum for his handling of Iran’s economy and protecting the country whilst at war with Iraq during his premiership. His strong commitment to Social Justice and Equality is well-known and is regarded to be at the core of his political ideology, which influenced policy-Making during his premiership. He pioneered the Coupon/vouchers-based economy during his premiership which resulted in a fair distribution of goods among people at the very crucial time of the war with Iraq. The economy was weakening day by day due to international sanctions by western powers who all backed Iraq during the war and demeed Iran as a threat towards regional hegemony.

Mousavi refused to run for president in the 1997 elections, which caused the reformists to turn to his former cabinet minister, then a little-known cleric, Mohammad Khatami, who won in a landslide. One of the memorable tactics of the 1997 Presidential Election Campaign was the posters containing Khatami’s picture alongside Mousavi and his support for Khatami’s bid, which is regarded by commentators to be the cause of the enormous support among working class Iranians that Khatami enjoyed. Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, explained in an interview that the reason for him not running in the 1997 elections was discouraging messages from higher officials, a statement which possibly hints at the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and/or the then President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

During Khatami’s administration, he served as the Senior Adviser to the President. He was considered as the possible leading candidate of the reformist alliance to run in the Iranian presidential election, 2005. But he finally declined the offer of certain parties in the reformist alliance on October 12, 2004, after a meeting with President Mohammad Khatami and the two other major members of the moderate Association of Combatant Clerics, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Mousavi-Khoiniha.

After 20 years of political silence, on March 9, 2009 he announced his bid to run in the 2009 Iranian Presidential Election, which has been since welcomed by many Iranians who still recall his time as Prime Minister. His intention to contest the upcoming Presidential election in June has been immensely welcomed by Trade Unions, Labour associations, grassroot activists on both sides of the political aisle and working class Iranians who feel being neglected for far too long by different administrations. Mousavi is well remembered by many Iranians for managing the country during the 1980-88 war with Iraq, and very effectively steering the country out of an economic meltdown. He has stated that his main goals are to institutionalise social justice, equality and fairness, freedom of expression, rooting out corruption as well as to speed up Iran’s pending process of privatization and thus move Iran away from what he calls “an alms-based economy”. Presidential hopeful Mousavi poses a serious pro-reform challenge to the country’s hard-line establishment and the current ultra-conservative president Ahmadinejad and has often criticized his economic mismanagement, stating that when Iran “was making profits from high oil prices, had he (Ahmadinejad) ever considered a situation when prices would fall?”.

Mousavi’s candidacy as a strong opportunity to unseat the current hard-line President Ahmadinejad, as he has lost popularity even among conservatives because of his handling of the faltering economy, evaporation of civil liberties and the disastrous state of the foreign policy, as some Iranians believe that his tough anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli rhetoric has worsened Iran’s isolation and standing in the world.

POLITICAL POSTS

  • Member of Central Campaign of Islamic Republican Party (1979–1981)
  • Head of Political Office of Islamic Republican Party (1980–1981)
  • Editor-in-Chief of Islamic Republican Newspaper (1981)
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs (1981)
  • President of Council of Cultural Revolution (1981)
  • Prime Minister of Iran (1981–1989)
  • President of Mostazafen Foundation of Islamic Revolution (1981–1989)
  • President of Economy Council (1982–1989)
  • Political adviser of president Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989–1997)
  • Senior adviser of president Mohammad Khatami (1997–2005)
  • Member of Expediency Discernment Council (1989-Present)
  • Member of Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution (1996-Present)
  • President of Iranian Academy of Arts (2000–2009)
  • Leader of Green Movement and The Green Path of Hope (2009-Present)

Checkout the ASCII Art of Mousavi Mir Hossein 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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