Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014
Manmohan Singh (Punjabi: ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ; born 26 September 1932) was the 13th Prime Minister of India. Singh, a member of the Indian National Congress party and an economist, became the first Sikh Prime Minister of India on 22 May 2004.
- There is no time to lose. Neither the Government nor the economy can live beyond its means year after year. The room for maneuver, to live on borrowed money or time, does not exist any more. Any further postponement of macroeconomic adjustment, long overdue, would mean that the balance of payments situation, now exceedingly difficult, would become unmanageable and inflation, already high, would exceed limits of tolerance.
- On the 1991 Indian economic crisis, as quoted in "Budget 1991-92 Speech of Shri Manmohan Singh Minister of Finance", Government of India (24 July 1991)
- Just as the Congress party did not plan the riots, but certain individuals belonging to the party have been accused of them, I have come to know that certain people belonging to the RSS were also named in some FIRs.
- On the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, as quoted in "Manmohan says he was misquoted on RSS role in '84 riots", Rediff (4 September 1999)
- His vision was to industrialize India, to urbanize India, and in the process he hoped that we would create a new society -- more rational, more humane, less ridden by caste and religious sentiments. That was the grand vision that Nehru had.
- We speak about cooperation but seem hesitant to commit ourselves to a global offensive to root out terrorism, with the pooling of resources, exchange of information, sharing of intelligence, and the unambiguous unity of purpose required. This must change. We do have a global coalition against terrorism. We must give it substance and credibility, avoiding selective approaches and political expediency.
- On terrorism, as quoted in We will carry forward composite dialogue, says Manmohan, The Hindu (24 September 2004)
- If our commitment to remain an open society is one of the pillars of our nationhood, the other is our commitment to remain an open economy. An economy that guarantees the freedom of enterprise, respects individual creativity, and at the same time mobilizes public investment for social infrastructure and the development of human capabilities. Indeed, it would be no exaggeration to suggest that these are the principles to which all countries will increasingly want to adhere. In relating to the world, we must never lose sight of this vital aspect of our Nationhood.
- As quoted in "Speech by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at India Today Conclave, New Delhi", Ministry of External Affairs (India) (25 February 2005)
- When we talk of a resurgent Asia, people think of the great changes that have come about in Shanghai. I share this aspiration to transform Mumbai in the next five years in such a manner that people would forget about Shanghai and Mumbai will become a talking point.
- There is no doubt that our grievances against the British Empire had a sound basis for. As the painstaking statistical work of the Cambridge historian Angus Maddison has shown, India's share of world income collapsed from 22.6% in 1700, almost equal to Europe's share of 23.3% at that time, to as low as 3.8% in 1952. Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th Century, "the brightest jewel in the British Crown" was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income.
- On the effect of British colonial rule on India's economy, as quoted in "Address by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at Oxford University", The Hindu (8 July 2005)
- I wish President Musharraf well, we want to work with him to bring greater balance in our own relations. But I have to be realistic enough to recognize the role that terrorist elements have played in the last few years in the history of Pakistan. Taliban was the creation of Pakistan extremists, the Wahabi Islam which has flourished, thousands and thousands of schools, the madrassas, were set up to preach this jihad based on hatred of other religions . . . and Pakistan is not a democracy in the sense that we know and you know. . . . We wish Pakistan success in emerging as a moderate Muslim state. We will work with President Musharraf . . . but we have to recognize what has happened.
- We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. These must have the first claim on resources.
- As quoted in "Muslims must have first claim on resources: PM", The Times of India (9 December 2006)
- I am delighted to hear the popularity of Odori Maharaja among young people here. Our children were delighted to see Odori Asimo - the dancing robot!
- Dalits have faced a unique discrimination in our society that is fundamentally different from the problems of minority groups in general.
- The only parallel to the practice of untouchability was apartheid.
- On Dalits and untouchability, "Indian leader likens caste system to apartheid regime", The Guardian (UK) (28 December 2006)
- I don’t get angry, I don’t want to use harsh words. They are our colleagues and we have to work with them. But they also have to learn to work with us.
- Responding to the opposition of Communist Party of India (Marxist) towards the India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement, as quoted in "‘Anguished’ PM to Left: If you want to withdraw, so be it", The Telegraph (India) (11 August 2007)
- The explosion of financial innovation unaccompanied by credible systemic regulation has made the financial system vulnerable. The resulting crisis of confidence threatens global prosperity in the increasingly interdependent world in which we live. There is, therefore, a need for a new international initiative to bring structural reform in the world's financial system with more effective regulation and stronger systems of multilateral consultations and surveillance. This must be designed in as inclusive a manner as possible.
- On the financial crisis of 2007–08, as quoted in "Full text of Manmohan Singh's speech at UN General Assembly", Hindustan Times (27 September 2008)
- Sikh extremism, separatism and militancy were a problem in India more than two decades ago. Today, Punjab is at peace and there is growth and prosperity. There are, however, some elements outside India, including in Canada, who try to keep this issue alive for their own purposes. In many cases, such elements have links to or are themselves wedded to terrorism.
- On the Khalistan movement, as quoted in "Manmohan Singh asks Canada to curb Sikh militancy from its soil", DNA India (25 June 2010)
- Sri Sathya Sai Baba as a preacher of the highest human values was an iconic figure for over five decades. He endeared himself to the people through various institutions, with headquarters at Prashanthi Nilayam, that promoted egalitarian values, education and public health.
- In an eulogy to Sathya Sai Baba, as quoted in "Nation mourns Sai Baba's death, Manmohan Singh calls him iconic figure", DNA India (24 April 2011)
- I honestly believe that history will be kinder to me than the contemporary media, or for that matter, the Opposition parties in Parliament.
- On his legacy, as quoted in "History will be kinder to me than the media, says Manmohan", The Hindu (4 January 2014)
- Japan is at the heart of India’s Look East Policy. It is also a key partner in our economic development and in our quest for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Asia and the world. Anchored in our shared values and interests, the partnership between a strong and economically resurgent Japan and a transforming and rapidly growing India can be an effective force of good for the region.
- On Japan, as quoted in "Media Statements of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at the press event held after the annual India-Japan summit level meeting", Ministry of External Affairs (25 January 2014)
- I can say in all humility that I have not used my public office to enrich myself, enrich my family or to enrich my friends.
- As quoted in "Manmohan speaks out: Never used public office to enrich self", Hindustan Times (27 May 2015)
- I have to acknowledge that my successor has been a more adept salesman, event manager and communicator than me.
- On Narendra Modi, as quoted in "'My Successor a Better Salesman': Manmohan Singh Takes on PM Modi on Economy", NDTV (9 June 2015)
- P. V. Narasimha Rao always tried to take the opposition into confidence. To cite a few examples, he had deputed Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the leader of the Indian delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva to discuss Pakistan-sponsored resolution to censure India on its record of human rights in Jammu & Kashmir, which was successfully thwarted. He had also nominated Shri Subramanian Swamy as Chairman of the Commission on Labour Standards and International Trade, with a Cabinet-rank.
- As quoted in "PVN Rao took everyone along, even nominated Subramanian Swamy to cabinet rank: Manmohan Singh", ThePrint (24 July 2020)
About Manmohan Singh edit
- Singh and I had developed a warm and productive relationship. While he could be cautious in foreign policy, unwilling to get out too far ahead of an Indian bureaucracy that was historically suspicious of U.S. intentions, our time together confirmed my initial impression of him as a man of uncommon wisdom and decency…. What I couldn’t tell was whether Singh’s rise to power represented the future of India’s democracy or merely an aberration.... In fact, he owed his position to Sonia Gandhi…more than one political observer believed that she’d chosen Singh precisely because as an elderly Sikh with no national political base, he posed no threat to her forty-year-old son, Rahul, whom she was grooming to take over the Congress Party... He feared that rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of India’s main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)... In the dim light, he (Singh) looked frail, older than his seventy-eight years, and as we drove off I wondered what would happen when he left office. Would the baton be successfully passed to Rahul, fulfilling the destiny laid out by his mother and preserving the Congress Party’s dominance over the ‘divisive nationalism’ touted by the BJP?
- Barack Obama, , ‘A Promised Land’ 2020
- My brother was always glued to his books, an ardent reader and an educationist.
- Surjit Singh, his younger brother, as quoted in "Singh brothers see bright future for economy", The Economic Times (20 May 2004)
- Unlike the general perception, Singh is not really a bureaucrat. My personal experience is that he is politically shrewd.
- I want to write to the Guinness Book of World Records that Manmohan Singh is the only Prime Minister of India among the eleven Prime Ministers that the country had who has not won even a municipal election. What is he going to tell me? Manmohan Singh is a nominated Prime Minister. He is not a representative of the people of India.
- He has been doing a wonderful job in guiding India even prior to being the prime minister along the path of extraordinary economic growth. That is a marvel, I think, for all of the world.
- When people talk of integrity, I say the best example is the man who occupies the country's highest office.
- Khushwant Singh, author and columnist, as quoted in "PM Manmohan Singh is the best example of integrity: Khushwant Singh", The Times of India (17 August 2010)
- They appointed a night watchman by naming Manmohan Singh as prime minister...the prime minister is nothing but a puppet of the Gandhi family.
- Narendra Modi, as quoted in "Narendra Modi targets Gandhis, calls Manmohan Singh 'night watchman'", NDTV (3 March 2013)
- It's very simple, Dr. Manmohan Singhji in reality is not a leader, and he has himself said that he is not a leader. The nation cannot be ruled by an academician, it can be run only by a leader. What was Indiraji [Indira Gandhi]'s education was never an issue, but she was a leader. (P. V.) Narasimha Rao was a leader. Only those who know the pulse of the nation can run it. Lal Bahadur Shastri knew the pulse of the nation very well, which is why he was able to leave his imprint on the nation in such a short time. Atal Bihari Vajpayee knew the pulse of the nation, Morarjibhai [Morarji Desai] knew the pulse of the nation, Chandra Shekharji was a mass leader. We also had [H. D.] Deve Gowdaji who had never left Karnataka, Indra Kumar Gujralji thankfully never made any claims. Manmohan Singhji is like that. That is why I say the nation needs a leader. Dr. Manmohan Singh has not even visited all the states in the five years of his prime ministership, while Advaniji is a leader who has, at some point in time, spent a night in our 400 districts.
- Narendra Modi : Interview in: "'The nation is waiting for a strong, experienced leader'," in: Rediff.com, 8 April 2009.
- Country knows...if there is a Prime Minister without the Gandhi family, then he is merely a shadow Prime Minister, a puppet Prime Minister with the strings lying with the 10 Janpath. In such a scenario, the country knew Singh's strings were lying with 10 Janpath.
- Sambit Patra, alleging that Singh was controlled by Sonia Gandhi who lived at 10 Janpath, as quoted in "BJP brands Manmohan Singh as puppet, accuses him of lying with a straight face", India Today (27 March 2015)
The Accidental Prime Minister (2014) edit
- Baru, Sanjaya (2014). The accidental Prime Minister. Penguin India.
- I am an accidental prime minister.
- Manmohan Singh
- But when I went back to him with her acceptance, the PM looked sheepish and informed me that he had already agreed to appoint Syeda Hameed, a Muslim writer and social activist, and so, I was told, there was no place left for Anu. Clearly, the ‘gender’ and ‘minority’ boxes had been filled up with Syeda’s appointment. I was left with the embarrassing task of explaining away the confusion to Anu. What I obviously could not say to her was that the political benefits of rewarding a Muslim may well have trumped those of appointing a Parsi! To my dismay, even Dr Singh seemed to take this embarrassment lightly.
- The way I saw it, if the Congress had lost, the blame for the defeat would have been placed squarely on the PM’s shoulders. It would be said his obsession with the nuclear deal cost the party the support of the Left and the Muslims. His ‘neo-liberal’ economic policies would have been deemed to have alienated the poor. His attempt to befriend Musharraf would have been regarded as having alienated the Hindu vote. A hundred explanations would have been trotted out to pin the defeat on the PM. Now that the party was back in office, and that too with more numbers than anyone in the party had forecast, the credit would go to the party’s ‘first family’. To the scion and future leader. It was Rahul’s victory, not Manmohan’s.
- After the elections, Dr Singh did try to be more assertive, taking a view on who would be in his Cabinet and who would not, and resisting the induction of the DMK’s A. Raja and T.R. Baalu, for their unsavoury reputations. Watching from the sidelines, I had hoped he would not buckle under pressure. Dr Singh stood his ground for a day, managed to keep Baalu out, but had to yield ground on Raja under pressure from his own party. To me, it was a reiteration of the message that the victory was not his but the Family’s.
- Rahul could have urged the government to respond to public opinion and let the PM handle the matter on his return to India from an official visit to the US. Instead, he decided to demand the ordinance’s withdrawal, calling it ‘nonsense’ in front of TV cameras, hours before Dr Singh was to call on President Obama. This public display of disrespect to Dr Singh and disregard for the dignity of the office of the prime minister on a day like this was, I felt, reason enough for Dr Singh to call it quits. He chose not to.
- He did not deserve this fate. He has many faults, and I have not hesitated to record them in this book. However, he remains not just a good man but, in the final analysis, also a good prime minister. This is especially true of his first term in office. He is, even at his worst, a cut above the competition, be it from within the ruling Congress party, or would-be prime ministers in other parties. No Congress leader—and I include here the party’s leader Sonia Gandhi and its ‘heir apparent’ Rahul Gandhi—can match his unique combination of personal integrity, administrative experience, international stature and political appeal across a wide swathe of public opinion. These qualities were strikingly evident during the first term of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, from 2004 to 2009 (UPA-1), with Dr Singh at its helm. However, as bad news, largely a series of financial scandals, tumbled out of the UPA’s second term from 2009 (UPA-2), and the media became hostile, his many talents began to recede from public view. Sadly, his own office became ineffective and lost control over the political narrative.
- That evening, all TV channels dutifully reported the Congress party’s statement that Rahul had asked the PM to extend NREGA to the entire country, and the next morning’s papers did the same. Only the Indian Express made the additional remark in its dispatch the next day that ‘Sources said that this issue had been on the PMO radar even before Rahul’s elevation to the party post.....