Manmohan Singh’s Birthday: Four Major Reforms of Former Indian Prime Minister

Dr. Manmohan Singh, who celebrates his 90th birthday today, was the 13th Prime Minister of India. Before becoming Prime Minister, Singh served as India’s Finance Minister from 1991 to 1996.

While many in the younger generation recognize Singh primarily as a former Prime Minister, it is crucial to recognize his invaluable contributions during his tenure as Finance Minister.

Also read: Manmohan Singh praises PM Modi’s leadership, says ‘India did the right thing…’

During this period, he played a crucial role in freeing the Indian economy from the constraints of a socialist economy associated with the Nehruvian era. On his birth anniversary, let us reflect on some of the key policy decisions that have played a transformative role in shaping the Indian economy.

Economic liberalization (1991)

As Finance Minister in 1991, Dr. Singh played a crucial role in the liberalization of the Indian economy. The reforms included reducing trade barriers, dismantling the License Raj system and opening key sectors to foreign investment. These reforms gave impetus to India’s economic growth and globalization.

Also read: G20 Summit 2023: Former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda hosted a grand dinner in Delhi

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This represents just a selection of the significant decisions and initiatives that Dr. Manmohan Singh’s role as India’s Prime Minister and prominent figure in the Indian government. During his term, significant progress was made in economic policy, diplomatic relations, social welfare and infrastructure improvements.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) (2005)

Under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the government introduced the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in 2005, which was later renamed as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The aim of this social assistance initiative was to offer rural households a legal guarantee of at least 100 days of employment per year, with the overall aim of combating rural poverty and unemployment.

Also read: “History will be kinder to him than…” netizens greet former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he visits Rajya Sabha in a wheelchair

Right to Information (RTI) Act (2005)

During the tenure of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the passage of the Right to Information Act was an essential piece of legislation. This law grants Indian citizens the power to request information from government agencies and institutions and serves as a critical tool to improve transparency, accountability and curb corruption in public administration.

The India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement (2005)

Dr. Manmohan Singh’s notable foreign policy initiative was the India-US civil nuclear deal, often referred to as the 123 Agreement.

Also read: How the nuclear deal thawed India-China relations

This historic agreement facilitated civil nuclear cooperation between India and the United States and gave India access to nuclear technology and fuel for its civil nuclear energy program. This was achieved despite India not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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