Who is he?:
Two-term prime minister of India. An economist and longtime politician with experience as finance minister, minister of railways, minister of external affairs, deputy chairman of the planning commission, and governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
Sept. 26, 1932, in Gah, a village in the Punjab province of modern-day Pakistan when it was undivided India. Raised by his paternal grandmother after losing his mother at a young age. After the partition, his family migrated to Amritsar, India, where he studied economics at Hindu College and then Panjab University. He was an accomplished student with a number academic distinctions and scholarships. Singh would earn a Ph.D. in economics, and would go on to earn numerous honorary degrees over his career, as well.
In 1958, Singh married married Gursharan Kaur, also from British India. They have three daughters - Upinder, Daman and Amrit, all career women out of the political limelight. Upinder is a history professor and author, Daman is an author, and Amrit is an attorney who works in human rights and civil liberties in New York. Singh is a Sikh and the only non-Hindu to be India's prime minister. He is widely respected as a humble, graceful man and a strong leader, though his government hasn't been free of corruption accusations.
A member since 1991 of the Indian National Congress, the largest and one of the oldest democratic parties in the world, with a center-left populist and nationalist position and Sonia Gandhi as chairperson. Belonged to the United Front coalition government from 1996-2004 and, as a member of the Indian National Congress, is affiliated with the United Progressive Alliance coalition, which was formed in 2004. Singh is a strong supporter of globalization, has focused on anti-terror measures, has reached out to underserved rural areas with healthcare and literacy programs, and has continued the peace process with arch-foe Pakistan.
The economist Singh penned “India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth” in 1964 and taught at Punjab University and the prestigious Delhi School of Economics. In 1971, Singh joined the government as an economic adviser in the commerce ministry, followed the next year by an appointment as chief economic adviser in the finance ministry. He would serve as secretary in the Ministry of Finance, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, governor of the Reserve Bank of India, adviser to the prime minister, and chairman of the University Grants Commission. From 1991 to 1996 Singh was India's finance minister. He has been a member of India’s Upper House of Parliament (the Rajya Sabha) since 1991, where he was opposition leader between 1998 and 2004. Singh was sworn in as prime minister on May 22 after the 2004 general elections and took the oath of office for a second term on May 22, 2009.
There are no term limits on the prime minister post in India, which is the leader of the ruling party in parliament. Singh is 79 years old and has undergone multiple heart surgeries and he also faces pressure from opposition parties in India. He helms one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but India also faces future challenges if Islamist influence grows in the area as both Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons (and India was targeted in the Mumbai attacks of 2008). India has to also be vigilant as the relationship with another economic power, China, grows.
"My top most priority is to deal with India's massive social and economic problems, so that chronic poverty, ignorance and disease can be conquered in a reasonably short period of time."