Singh, Manmohan (mänmō'hän sĭng) , 1932–, Indian economist and government official, prime minister of India (2004–), b. Gah, West Punjab. Educated at the universities of Punjab, Cambridge, and Oxford, Singh taught at a number of institutions, including the Delhi School of Economics, and worked for the United Nations (1966–69). During the 1970s and 80s he held a number of government financial and economic posts, including economic adviser to the ministries of foreign trade (1971–72) and finance (1972–76) and governor of the Reserve Bank of India (1982–85), before becoming economic affairs adviser (1990–91) to Prime Minister Rao. Appointed finance minister in 1991, Singh introduced reforms that were credited with reviving the economy and initiating a decade of growth. A technocrat rather than a politician, Singh was first elected to the Indian parliament's upper house in 1991 as a member of the Congress party. He became prime minister when party leader Sonia Gandhi declined the office after the 2004 elections, and is the first Sikh to hold the post.
The Prime Minister of India is, in practice, the most powerful person in the government of India. The Prime Minister is technically outranked by the President of India, but because the President's duties are largely ceremonial, the Prime Minister has effective responsibility for government.
India follows a parliamentary system of government, which is modelled after that of the United Kingdom. In this system, the Prime Minister is generally the leader of a party (or coalition of parties) that can gain a majority in the lower house (Lok Sabha) of the Parliament of India. The Prime Minister either has to be a current member of one of the houses of Parliament, or be elected within six months of being appointed.