India follows a Parliamentary system of Government like United Kingdom. In a Parliamentary system the Powers are generally in the hands of a Prime Minister rather than a President. The Prime Minister is the leader of a party (or coalition of parties that has a majority in the Lok Sabha (lower house) of the Parliament 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. The First Prime Minister of Independent India was Jawaharlal Nehru. Jawaharlal Nehru also holds the record for continuously being in the office for the longest period Aug. 15, 1947 to May 27, 1964 about 17 years.
Jawaharlal Nehru implemented his socialist vision by introducing a modified, "Indian" version of state planning and control over the economy. Creating the Planning commission of India, Nehru drew up the first Five-Year Plan in 1951, which charted the government`s investments in industries and agriculture. Increasing business and income taxes, Nehru envisaged a mixed economy in which the government would manage strategic industries such as mining, electricity and heavy industries, serving public interest and a check to private enterprise. Nehru pursued land redistribution and launched programmes to build irrigation canals, dams and spread the use of fertilizers to increase agricultural production. While encouraging the construction of large dams, irrigation works and the generation of hydroelectricity, Nehru also launched India`s programme to harness nuclear energy. For most of Nehru`s term as prime minister, India would continue to face serious food shortages despite progress and increases in agricultural production. Nehru`s industrial policies encouraged the growth of diverse manufacturing and heavy industries, yet state planning, controls and regulations impaired productivity, quality and profitability. Although the Indian economy enjoyed a steady rate of growth, chronic unemployment amidst inerradicable poverty continued to plague the population. Nehru`s popularity remained unaffected, and his government succeeded in extending water and electricity supply, health care, roads and infrastructure to a large degree for India`s vast rural population.
GULZARI LAL NANDA
Gulzari lal was a Gandhian to the core and was also temporary Prime Minister on two occasions after the sudden death of Pandit Nehru (from may 27, 1964 to June 9, 1964), for 14 days, and again after the sudden demise of Lal Bahadur Shastri (from January 11 to 24, 1966), again for a period of 14 days. On both occasions he acted for slightly less than a month, his term ending upon the election of a new leader of the Indian National Congress. Born in Sialkot (now in Pakistan), July 4, 1898 died on January 15, 1998, as a centenarian. He was a leading member in the labour movement. He had also conferred the Bharat Ratna Award in the year1997.
LAL BAHADUR SHASTRI
Born in Moghalsarai (Varanasi), October 2, 1904 died in Tashkent (USSR) on January 11, 1966, while negotiating peace talks with Pakistan. He had conferred Bharat Ratna in 1966. As the Minister for Transport and Police, he was the first to appoint women conductors and ordered that Police use jets of water instead of lathis to avoid unruly crowds. Shastri worked by his natural traits to obtain agreements, but in his short tenure was ineffective in dealing with the economic crisis and food shortage in the country. He was respected a lot and used this advantage in pushing the Green Revolution in India which directly led to India becoming a food-surplus nation, he also introduced White Revolution. During the 22-day war with Pakistan, Lal Bahadur Shastri created the slogan of "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan", underlining the need to boost India`s food production. He held office for 582 days, from June 9, 1964 to January 11, 1966.
Indira Gandhi was the first Women Prime Minister of India and held office from Jan. 24, 1966 to March 24, 1977 and again from Jan. 14 to Oct. 31,1984, for a total of 5,831 days. Abolition of Privy Purse, nationalization of banks, birth of Bangladesh is some of her achievements. Born in Allahabad, Nov. 19, 1917; died on Oct. 31,1984. Her own Sikh bodyguard murdered her as she had ordered attack on the Golden Temple. Indira Gandhi was Minister for Information and Broadcasting in Lal Bahadur Shastri`s tenure. She was the person to declare Emergency in the country; by 1973 Delhi and north India were rocked by demonstrations angry at high price rise, the poor state of the economy, uncontrolled corruption, and poor standards of living. In June 1975, the High Court of Allahabad found her guilty of using illegal practices during election campaign, and ordered her to vacate her seat.
The first non-congress Prime Minister since Independence, Morarji Desai headed the Janata Party Government for 857 days, from March 24, 1977 to July 28, 1979. He was one of those rare Gandhians. Born on 29th February 1896, in Bahadesli Village, Gujarat; a centenarian, he passed away on April 10, 1995. He had also conferred Bharat Ratna in 1991. During his time Desai greatly improved relations with Pakistan and Zia-ul-Haq. Diplomatic relations were also re-established with China. His greatest contribution was that his Government renewed people`s faith in democracy. His Government undid many amendments made to the constitution during emergency and made it difficult for any future Government to impose National emergency.
A "kisan" Prime Minister from Uttar Pradesh, he never faced Parliament, even though he was in office for 171 days, from July 28, 1979 to Jan. 14, 1980. Within days of assuming office, one of the supporting parties withdrew its support, after which he continued as caretaker PM, till fresh elections were held. Born in Noorpur, Meerut in U. P. on Dec.23, 1902 died in 1987. Charan Singh was of the opinion that cooperative farms would not succeed in India. Charan Singh`s political career suffered due to his open criticism of Nehru`s economic policy. He also mentioned that that Indian labour laws had to be refined if India were to become competitive in world economy. He also opened high level diplomatic relations with Israel.
Rajiv Gandhi worked as a professional pilot for Indian Airlines before coming into politics. The youngest Prime Minister so far, this grand son of Pt. Nehru assumed office at the age of 41, the day his mother was assassinated (Oct. 31,1984). In the 1985 elections, he led his party to a big win and continued as PM till Dec 1,1989. Born in Bombay on Aug. 20, 1944; died in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991, at the hands of a human bomb. He began demolishing the License Raj, government quotas, tax and permitted regulations on economic activity, modernized the telecommunications industry, education system, expanded science and technology and improved relations with the United States. The Bofors scandal broke his honest, image and resulted in a major defeat for his party in the 1989 elections. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991.
V. P. Singh became Prime Minister of Janata Dal on Dec. 2,1989 and continued till Nov. 10, 1990. Born in Allahabad on June 25, 1931. Singh wished to move nationally on social justice-related issues, which would in turn combine the caste coalition that supported the Janata Dal in North India, and accordingly decided to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission which suggested that a fixed quota of all jobs in the public sector be reserved for members of the historically disadvantaged Other Backward Classes. these were Hindu castes, and certain non-Hindu caste-like communities, which, though not untouchable, had been socially and educationally backward. This decision led to widespread protests among the youth in urban areas in North India.
The " Young Turk"(reformist) became Prime Minister on Nov. 10,1990 and continued till June 21, 1991 (224 days). Born in Village Ibrahimpatti in Ballia District, U P on July 1, 1927. Holding the office of Prime Minister for only seven months, Shekhar resigned on March 6, 1991 after the Congress Party withdrew support to him. Chandra Shekhar was known for abiding by the parliamentary Rules and Regulations and was honoured with the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 1995. Today, Chandra Shekhar is a member of India`s Lower House of Parliament. He now leads Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya). Chandra Shekhar was the Eleventh Prime Minister of India.
P. V. NARASIMHA RAO
The first ever from South to hold this office, he ruled for full five years, from June 21, 1991 to May 10, 1996 (1, 785 days), despite a hung Parliament, initially. Narasimha Rao was born in Vangara, Andhra Pradesh, on June 28, 1921. Rao decided that India, which in 1991 was on the verge of bankruptcy, would benefit from Economic Liberalisation Programme. Rao, also called Father of Indian Economic Reforms. The state of Jammu and Kashmir faced increased terrorist activity during Rao`s tenure. During Rao`s tenure major happenings took place like the Babri Masjid Demolition, Latur Earthquake, Riots of 1993, Corruption charges and many more scandals.
A. B. VAJPAYEE
The first "bachelor" Prime Minister, he was at the office only for 16 days from May 16 to June 1, 1996, creating a record for the shortest spell in office. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in Gwalior (M. P) on 25th December 1926. A prolific writer and a great orator. He assumed charge for the second time on March 19, 1998. He took the oath on October 13, 1999 after General Election. He submitted resignation on May 13, 2004. He was a passionate champion of women`s empowerment and social equality, Vajpayee believes in a forward-looking, forward moving India, a strong and wealthy nation confident of its rightful place in the good will of nations. He stands for an India secured in 5000 years of development history, ever modernizing, renewing, and ever re-energizing itself to meet the challenges of the next 1000 years. India`s second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, was conferred upon him.
H D DEVE GOWDA
Haradanahalli Dodde Deve Gowda, who was in office from June 1, 1996 to April 21, 1997 for only 11 months, headed the 11th Lok Sabha. Deve Gowda was born on May 18, 1933, in Haradanahalli Village, Hassan District and Karnataka. When the Congress party was defeated in the 1996 general elections Deve Gowda became prime minister of a United Front coalition government after Indian nationalists failed to form a government. He is widely respected and regarded for his struggle toward the cause of the farming community and is proudly known as "son of the soil".
I. K. GUJRAL
Inder Kumar Gujral became Prime Minister on April 21, 1997. He resigned office on Nov. 28. 1997. Gujral was born on December 4, 1919, in Jhelum. Prime Minister Gujral continued in the office for over 11 months, including 3 months as caretaker Prime Minister. During this time, he attempted to improve relations with Pakistan, reform the aging institutions of government and promote pro-growth economic policies to bring the country out of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which had left it stagnant. But thelawless, corrupt and unstable coalition politics were too big aproblem. One of the most controversial decisions of his government was declaration of President`s rule in Uttar Pradesh, following uncontrollable scenes in the state assembly.
DR. MANMOHAN SINGH
He was born on 26 September 1932, in Gah, Punjab (now in Punjab, Pakistan) into a Kohli family. A globally renowned economist and former Finance Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh assumed charge on May 22, 2004. Sonia Gandhi was elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and was expected to become the Prime Minister. In an unexpected move, she declined to accept the post and instead nominated Singh. He is the 17th and current Prime Minister of India. Singh is a member of the Indian National Congress party and became the first Sikh to become Prime Minister of India. He is one of the most qualified and influential figures in India`s recent history, because of the economic liberalisation he started in 1991. It is no less a reward that most of the ministers in his cabinet are qualified.