Manmohan Singh was born to Gurmukh Singh and Amrit Kaur on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab, British India, into a Sikh family. He lost his mother when he was very young and was raised by his paternal grandmother, to whom he was very close. Singh married Gursharan Kaur in 1958. They have three daughters, Upinder Singh, Daman Singh and Amrit Singh
After the Partition of India, his family migrated to Amritsar, India, where he studied at Hindu College. He attended Panjab University, Chandigarh, then in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, studying Economics and got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1952 and 1954, respectively, standing first throughout his academic career. He completed his Economics Tripos at University of Cambridge as he was a member of St John’s College in 1957. In 1960, he went to the University of Oxford for the D.Phil where he was a member of Nuffield College. After completing his D.Phil, Singh returned to India until 1966 when he went to work for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 1966–1969.
In 1972, Singh was Chief Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance and in 1976 he was Secretary in the Finance Ministry. In 1980-1982 he was at the Planning Commission, and in 1982, he was appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank of India under then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and held the post until 1985. He went on to become the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission of India from 1985 to 1987. In June 1991, India’s Prime Minister at the time, P.V. Narasimha Rao, chose Singh to be his Finance Minister. In 1993, Singh offered his resignation from the post of Finance Minister after a parliamentary investigation report criticised his ministry for not being able to anticipate a US$1.8 billion securities scandal
Singh was first elected to the upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, in 1991 by the legislature of the state of Assam, and was re-elected in 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2013.From 1998 to 2004, while the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power, Singh was the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. In 1999, he contested for the Lok Sabha from South Delhi but was unable to win the seat.
After the 2004 general elections, the Indian National Congress ended the incumbent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) tenure by becoming the political party with the single largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha. In a surprise move, Chairperson Sonia Gandhi declared Manmohan Singh, a technocrat, as the UPA candidate for the Prime Ministership. Despite the fact that Singh had never won a Lok Sabha seat.
Singh’s government has continued the Golden Quadrilateral and the highway modernisation program that was initiated by Vajpayee’s government. In 2005, Prime Minister Singh and his government’s health ministry started the National Rural Health Mission, which has mobilised half a million community health workers. In 2006, his Government implemented the proposal to reserve 27% of seats in All India Institute of Medical Studies (AIIMS), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other central institutions of higher education for Other Backward Classes which led to 2006 Indian anti-reservation protests. The important National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and the Right to Information Act were passed by the Parliament in 2005 during his tenure.
India held general elections to the 15th Lok Sabha in five phases between 16 April 2009 and 13 May 2009. On 22 May 2009, Manmohan Singh was sworn in as the Prime Minister during a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan
In 2010, Newsweek magazine recognised him as a world leader who is respected by other heads of state, describing him as “the leader other leaders love.” The article quoted Mohamed ElBaradei, who remarked that Singh is “the model of what a political leader should be.”