Former president Pranab Mukherjee who had served in the Manmohan Singh government in various capacities, today lauded the former prime minister for ushering in political stability in the country and successfully presiding over the country’s finances during “turbulent time”.
He said that Singh assumed his political role as the finance minister at a time when the country had lost its international credibility in money and finance. “But Dr Singh through his skill and deftness” steered the country’s economy to a growth trajectory.
Singh, a former Reserve Bank governor, was appointed as the country’s finance minister in 1991 by the then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao when the country’s economy was passing through a crisis.
Mukherjee listed a host of legislations including the landmark Right to Information Act and the Food Security Act which were enacted during Singh’s tenure as prime minister.
He said Singh displayed “skill and deftness” in handling the country’s economy and decisively managed the coalition government, ending a period of political instability in the country.
“We will remain grateful to you for providing political stability in the most uncertain time,” he said.
The former president was speaking at an award function here where Singh was given the lifetime achievement award.
He recalled how the then US President George W Bush had called upon Singh to show light out of the tunnel and restore the world economy when it was passing through a recessionary phase.
He said there was widespread fear during those days that the world economy would slide the way as it happened during the 1930s.
Indian economic credential was also at stake and the country had to pledge 25 tons of gold to the Bank of England just to borrow a few hundred million dollars when nobody was prepared to give loan to India.
But on assuming the role as the finance minister, Singh “staked his own personal prestige…the skill and deftness with which doctor saheb led the economy in that turbulent period is simply marvellous,” Mukherjee said.
The V C Padmanabhan Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award, given to Singh, has been instituted by Manappuram Finance Ltd.