About Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Kumar Mukherjee is the thirteenth and present President of India, holding the position since July 2012. An octogenarian and a member of the Indian National Congress, Pranab Mukherjee is a seasoned Indian politician with a political career span of about six decades. His tenure in Indian politics has seen him serving several ministerial portfolios with élan. He was considered the top troubleshooter of the Indian National Congress Party over the last couple of decades. He remained the Union Finance Minister of India till 2012, before becoming the President of India.
Pranab Mukherjee’s entry into the Parliament was in 1969, helped by the then Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi, when he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha or the Upper House of the Parliament. Eventually by 1973 he rose as a minister in the cabinet and emerged as one of the most trustworthy lieutenants of Smt. Indira Gandhi. His first stint in the capacity of a minister was from 1982 to 1984 as the Finance Minister. From 1980 to 1985 he held the key role of the Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha. After the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi in 1984, Pranab Mukherjee lost out in a subsequent power struggle with Shri Rajiv Gandhi, who he considered inexperienced in Indian politics while viewing himself as the rightful successor. This resulted in Pranab Mukherjee forming a new party called the Rashtriya Samajwadi Party, which later merged with the Indian National Congress in 1989 after the two men came to a compromise.
Personal background of Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Mukherjee was born on 11 December 1935 in a village called Mirati located in the Birbhum District of West Bengal (Bengal Province of the British Raj). He was the son of Shri Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee and Smt. Rajlakshmi Mukherjee. His father was a freedom fighter and later became a representative of Indian National Congress and a member of All India Congress Committee. From 1952 to 1964 Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee was a West Bengal Legislative Council member. Pranab Mukherjee studied in Suri Vidyasagar College in the Birbhum District of West Bengal. He completed his M.A. in History and Political Science and thereafter an LL.B degree from the University of Calcutta.
On 13 July 1957 Pranab Mukherjee got married to Suvra Mukherjee, who was from Narail in Bangladesh, and migrated at the age of 10 years to Kolkata. They have a daughter and two sons. His daughter is a Kathak dancer. Abhijit Mukherjee, his elder son, contested from the Jangipur in West Bengal in the by-elections and became a Congress MP when his father vacated the seat of Jangipur. Prior to this, Abhijit Mukherjee remained an MLA from a place called Nalhati in the Birbhum District.
Every year Pranab Mukherjee makes it a point to celebrate the Durga Puja with his family and natives at his ancestral place in the village of Mirati. His hobbies include music, reading and gardening.
Professional background before entering politics
Pranab Mukherjee’s career began at Calcutta in the office of the Deputy Accountant-General (Post and Telegraph) as an upper-division clerk. He served as a teacher of Political Science during 1963 in the Vidyanagar College situated in South 24 Parganas. He was also a journalist for some time with Desher Dak (Call of the Motherland).
How did Pranab Mukherjee enter politics?
Mukherjee’s first step in politics saw him actively campaigning for Shri V.K. Krishna Menon, an independent candidate during the 1969 Midnapore by-elections. Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, recognized his potential and inducted him as a member of the Indian National Congress party. He was made a member of the Rajya Sabha in July 1969.
Political Journey of Pranab Mukherjee
- In July1969 he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
- From February 1973 to January 1974 he was the Union Deputy Minister for Industrial Development.
- From January 1974 to October 1974 he was the Union Deputy Minister for Shipping & Transport.
- From October 1974 to December 1975 he was the Union Minister of state for Finance.
- In July 1975 he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha for the second time.
- From December 1975 to March 1977 he was the Union Minister of State for Revenue and Banking (Independent Charge).
- From 1978 to 1980 he represented the Congress party as the Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha.
- From 27 January 1978 to 18 January 1986, and again from 10 August 1997 to 25 June 2012, he remained a member of the Congress Working Committee.
- From 1978 to 1979 he was the Treasurer of the All India Congress Committee and also Treasurer of Congress (I) in the Parliament.
- From 1978 to 1986 he was the Central Parliamentary Board’s member of the AICC.
- From January 1980 to January 1982 he was the Union Minister of Steel & Mines and Commerce
- From 1980 to 1985 he was:
- Leader of the House of the Rajya Sabha
- Member of Committee on Privileges in the Rajya Sabha
- Business Advisory Committee Member
- Member of the Committee on Rules in the Rajya Sabha
- In August 1981 he was elected as member of Rajya Sabha for the third time.
- From January 1982 to December 1984 he was in additional charge of the Commerce & Supply Ministry.
- During 1984, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999 he was the Chairman of the Campaign Committee of the AICC for administering National Elections to Parliament.
- In 1985 and during August 2000 to June 2010 he was the President of Pradesh Congress Committee in West Bengal.
- From 1987 to 1989 he was the Chairman of AICC’s Economic Advisory Cell.
- From June 1991 to May 1996 he was the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.
- From 1993 to February 1995 he was the Union Cabinet Minister of Commerce.
- In 1993 he was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the fourth time.
- From February 1995 to May 1996 he was the Union Cabinet Minister of External Affairs.
- From 1996 to 2004 he was the Chief Whip of the Indian National Congress in the Rajya Sabha.
- From 1996 to 1999 he was the Member of the Consultative Committee on External Affairs.
- In 1997 he was the Departmentally related Parliamentary Standing Committee’s Chairman on Environment & Forest and on Science & Technology.
- In 1999 he was re-elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha for the fifth term.
- On 28 June 1999 he was the Chairman of AICC’s Central Election Coordination Committee.
- From 1998 to 1999 he was the General Secretary of the AICC.
- From June 1998 to May 2004 he was the Departmentally related Parliamentary Standing Committee’s Chairman on Home Affairs.
- From 12 December 2001 to 25 June 2012 he was the Central Election Committee’s member.
- On 13 May he was elected as a member of the 14th Lok Sabha.
- From 23 May 2004 to 24 October 2006, he was the Union Cabinet Minister of Defense.
- From June 2004 to June 2012, he was the Leader of the House of the Lok Sabha.
- From 25 October 2006 to 23 May 2009, he was the Union Cabinet Minister of External Affairs.
- From 24 January 2009 to May 2009 he was the Union Cabinet Minister of Finance.
- On 20 May 2009 he was elected as a member of the 15th Lok Sabha for the second time.
- From 2009 to 26 June 2012 he was the Union Cabinet Minister of Finance.
- On 25 June he resigned from the Indian National Congress party, before contesting for the office of the President of India.
Memberships Held in International Organizations
Board of Governors of:
- The International Monetary Fund from 1982 to 1985 and from 2009 to 2012
- The World Bank from 1982 to 1985 and from 2009 to 2012
- The Asian Development Bank from 1982 to 1985 and from 2009 to 2012
- The African Development Bank from 1982 to 1985 and from 2009 to 2012
- Group of 24 nations in IMF and World Bank in 1984 and from 2011 to 2012
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in May 1995 and in November 1995
Presided over SAARC, Council of Ministers Conference thrice in May 1995, November 1995 and also in April 2007.
Leader of Indian delegations abroad:
1. Colombo Plan Finance Ministers’ Conferences held in Singapore in 1975 and in Colombo in the year 1976.
2. The Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Conferences held in the years 1982, 1983 and 1984.
3. AGMs of the World Bank and IMF for the years 1982 to 1984 and from 2009 to 2012.
4. AGMs of Asian Development Bank from 1982 to 1984 and from 2010 to 2012.
5. Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Marrakesh for the year 1994.
6. UN General Assembly in the years 1994, 1995, 2005 and 2006.
7. The Social Summit, Copenhagen in the year 1995.
8. The 40th Anniversary of the Afro-Asian Conference held in Bandung in the year 1995.
9. Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Conference in Cartagana in the year 1995.
10. Conference of Commonwealth Heads of Governments at Auckland in the year 1995.
Association with Social and Cultural Activities
- He was the President of the Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan from 1995 to 2001 and from 2004 to June 2012 and also of the Rabindra Bharati Society.
- He served as Chairman of:
- Council of Indian Statistical Institute from 2006 to 20 June 2012.
- Planning Board of the Asiatic Society in Kolkata from 1984 to 1986, from 1992 to 1996 and from 2004 to 2012
- He was the Trustee of:
- Bangiya Sahitya Parishad from 1984 to 1990
- Bidhan Memorial Trust at Kolkata from 1998 to June 2012
Awards and Honours received by Pranab Mukherjee
- Rated as Best Finance Minister of the World in 1984 by the Euromoney magazine.
- In 1997 he was honoured with the Best Parliamentarian Award.
- In 2008 he was honoured with second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, by the Government of India.
- Emerging Markets, the London-based news daily of record for the IMF and the World Bank awarded him in 2010 as Finance Minister of the Year for Asia.
- The Banker in 2010 mentioned him as the Finance Minister of the Year.
- In 2011 the University of Wolverhampton honoured him with Doctor of Letters degree.
- In March 2012 the Visvesvaraya Technological University and the Assam University conferred him with honorary D.Litt. award.
- On 4 March 2013 at the University of Dhaka, he received the honorary doctorate of law by Mohammad Zillur Rahman, the President of Bangladesh and also the DU Chancellor.
- On 5 March 2013, he received the second highest award of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sanmanona (Liberation War Award).
- On 13 March 2013, the University of Mauritius bestowed on him the Doctor of Civil Law Honoris Causa.
Books written by Pranab Mukherjee
- Mid-Term Poll in the year 1969
- Beyond Survival – Emerging Dimensions of Indian Economy in the year 1984
- Off the Track in the year 1987
- Challenges Before the Nation in the year 1992
- Saga of Struggle and Sacrifice in the year 1992