Turning 88 this week, Manmohan Singh continues to inspire young lawmakers3 min read . Updated: 22 Sep 2020, 09:45 AM IST
- He has unmatched experience as a former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, as former illustrious finance minister and of course as the honourable former prime minister of the country, Jayant Sinha said
New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who turns 88 on Saturday, continues to inspire young lawmakers from his vast parliamentary and governance experience. Singh, a Congress veteran, is currently in his sixth term of Rajya Sabha and gives key inputs as a lawmaker particularly on economy related issues in Parliament.
The most recent praise for Singh has come in his role as a member of the parliamentary standing committee on finance. He has been part of the panel since August last year when he got reelected to the Upper House. Members across treasury benches and the opposition from the committee feel that Singh’s inputs have been valuable as he guides members on key issues.
“It is an extraordinary privilege and I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the honourable former Prime Minister in the standing committee on finance. We greatly benefited from his wisdom and experience in all of our consultations," Jayant Sinha, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader who chairs the finance committee told Mint.
He has unmatched experience as a former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, as former illustrious finance minister and of course as the honourable former prime minister of the country, Sinha said.
“To have him by our side and benefit from his counsel on these matters is an extraordinary privilege and I count myself as very lucky as a person to listen to his advice and perspective on economic issues. I have been very fortunate to benefit from the mentorship and guidance of stalwarts like the late former finance minister Arun Jaitley ji and obviously Dr Manmohan Singh," Sinha added.
Some of the key meetings that Singh attended of the finance committee this year includes those on amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) which had representation from corporate affairs ministry, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) among others. Members of the committee added that Singh has given some key inputs during its deliberations particularly those related to taxation matters.
“He has immense experience and it shows when he brings perspective to issues that we discuss in the committee. He takes a lot of interest in taxation issues particularly GST (Goods and Services Tax). Attending the same meeting as him means we get an idea of how to raise issue and what to focus on. His presence continues to be a learning experience," another young opposition member from the committee said requesting anonymity.
According to PRS Legislative Research, Singh has had an average attendance of 96% beginning June 2014. Incidentally, he has applied for leave of absence from the current monsoon session on medical grounds given the spread of the covid-19 pandemic in the country.
“He has been one of the most regular attendees of the committee and attended most of its meetings till covid-19 cases became prevalent. Due to age and health related concerns and precautions needed during the pandemic, he has not been able to attend the past few meetings," said a person familiar with the working of the Committee on condition of anonymity.
Apart from his engagements as a lawmaker, Singh continues to play a key role in Congress’ party affairs, including deciding strategies on key national issues. Earlier this year, he was appointed the head of party’s consultative committee to deliberate on ‘current concerns’ and formulate stance on key issues. Over the past few months, Singh has been vocal over the India-China border issue among others.
Singh has had a long experience in public life which includes two terms as prime minister heading the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, finance minister, chairman of the University Grants Commission, adviser to the prime minister, Reserve Bank of India governor, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission and chief economic adviser among.