The 81-year-old economist, credited with playing a key role in ushering in economic reforms in the 1990s, leaves a mixed legacy of achievements and failures during his tenure.
President Pranab Mukherjee accepted the resignation and requested Singh and his colleagues to continue till the new government is formed. Earlier this morning, the Cabinet met and recommended dissolution of the Lok Sabha. The Cabinet adopted a resolution lauding the role of Singh.
Looking back, he said India saw many successes and achievements that we should be proud of and the country has become far stronger in last one decade. But it still has vast latent development potential.
Singh, the first Sikh PM, was the surprise choice for the top post when his name was suddenly proposed by Congress president Sonia in 2004 when the party-led coalition UPA was in a position to form government.
I address you today for the last time as Prime Minister of India. Ten years ago, when I was entrusted with this responsibility, I entered upon it with diligence as my tool, truth as my beacon and a prayer that I might always do the right thing, Singh said in his brief address to the nation.
...This great land of ours where I, an underprivileged child of Partition, was empowered enough to rise and occupy high office. It is both a debt that I will never be able to repay and a decoration that I will always wear with pride... As I leave office, my abiding memory will be the love and kindness that I have always received from you," he said.
Singh, whose second tenure between 2009 and 2014 saw the government battling various corruption scandals, insisted, As I have said on many occasions, my life and tenure in public office are an open book. I have always tried to do my best in serving this great nation of ours.
Asserting that he is confident about the future of India, the outgoing PM said, I firmly believe that the emergence of India as a major powerhouse of the evolving global economy is an idea whose time has come. Blending tradition with modernity and unity with diversity, this nation of ours can show the way forward to the world.
Noting that serving this nation has been his privilege and there is nothing more he could ask for, he said, I wish the incoming government every success as it embarks on its task and pray for even greater successes for our nation.