You may remember that earlier this week I told you I was part of a judging panel whose task was to pick the World Policymaker of the Year for 2007. Well, we reached a decision and have given the award to Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India. The citations says...
An economist by profession, Singh was Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1985. He served as Finance Minister under Narasimha Rao from 1991 to 1996, and was Leader of the Opposition in India’s Upper House from 1998 to 2004.Last year John McCain was the winner. We arrived at Dr Singh after an evening which saw 25 names under discussion. In the end we whittled it down to a shortlist of four. I must admit that I ranked Nixolas Sarkozy and my own nomination, General David Petraeus top.
Following the 2004 elections, Sonia Gandhi formed a new coalition government. As parliamentary leader of the largest party (Congress), she was expected to become Prime Minister herself but finally appointed Singh. The move surprised many because of long-standing tensions between India’s Sikhs and the central government.
Prior to 1991, India had a planned economy modelled on socialist principles. Enterprise was governed by a complex system of licences, taxes and regulations, which deterred foreign investment and stifled competition. As Finance Minister Singh began a programme of economic reform and liberalisation which lead to rapid and sustained economic growth. Since becoming Prime Minister, his administration has reduced fiscal deficits, provided debt-relief to poor farmers, and implemented many social programmes. Singh has also worked to defuse religious tensions between the Hindu population and minorities including Muslims, Christians and Sikhs.
The investment bank Goldman Sachs recently predicted that India could be the world's fifth largest economy within a decade, and second only to China by
The World Leadership Forum’s annual ‘Policymaker of the Year’ Award is given to a living individual who has created, inspired or strongly influenced important policy or legislation. The nationality or domicile of candidates has no influence on the outcome; the sole criterion is the quality of leadership shown.
The other judges were, Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent of Sky News; Mishal Hussain, anchor for BBC World, Janet Kersnar, Editor in Chief of CFO Europe; Dame Ann Leslie, Foreign Correspondent of the Daily Mail; Emily Nelson, London Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal; Dr Irwin Stelzer; economist and journalist; and Malcolm Turner, President of the World Leadership Forum.