Born on 11th December 1935 in West Bengal, India, Pranab Kumar Mukherjee is the 13th and the current president of India. He assumed office on 25th July 2012. Previously he was the Finance Minister of India and a leader of the ongoing 15th Lok Sabha. Pranab Mukherjee is also a senior member of the Cabinet Committees on Economic Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs, Infrastructure, Political Affairs, Security, Prices, World Trade Organization, Unique Identification Authority of India and the Congress Working Committee.
Pranab Mukherjee is the son of Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee, a freedom fighter, a member of AICC and West Bengal Legislative Council, from 1952 to 1964. He studied politics, history and law in Calcutta University and worked as a teacher, a journalist and a lawyer before joining politics in 1969. Apart from work, Mr. Mukherjee likes to read, listen to music and enjoys gardening. He is married to Suvra Mukherjee (1957- August 18,2015) and has two sons and a daughter, Abhijit, Indrajit and Sharmistha.
In 1969, Pranab Mukherjee started his parliamentary career as a member of Rajya Sabha from the congress party. He was re-elected in the following years: 1975, 1981, 1993 and 1999. From a series of cabinet posts he rose to become the Finance Minister of India from 1982 to 1984. His tenure was well-known for India not withdrawing the last billion installment of an IMF loan. For a brief period he was pushed out of the Congress party, and during this phase he shaped his own political party called "Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress", however later on he merged it back with Congress party in 1989.
His political career was revived when he was appointed as deputy chairman of the planning commission and subsequently as a union cabinet minister. For the first time from 1995 to 1996 in Rao's cabinet, he served as External Affairs Minister and was voted Outstanding Parliamentarian in 1997. Since 1985, he was the President of the West Bengal state unit of Congress, but later in July 2010 he resigned due to work-load.
Pranab Mukherjee won the Lok Sabha elections for the first time from Jangipur and was made the Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha. He heads the Congress Parliamentary Party and the Congress Legislative Party which constitutes of all the Congress MPs and MLAs in the country and also has the merit of being a Minister with various high profile Ministries.
He played an important role in directing the Cabinet pre Lok Sabha elections when the Prime Minister underwent by-pass surgery by taking further charge as chairman of the Cabinet Committee of Political Affairs and Union Minister in Finance Ministry despite already being the Union Minister of External Affairs.
Mr. Mukherjee is a member of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank. On 10 October 2008, Pranab Mukherjee and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed the Section 123 Agreement.
Within party social circles Mr. Mukherjee is a well respected individual, he has a status of a politician with an extraordinary memory and a distinct survival instinct. When Sonia Gandhi unwillingly agreed to join politics, he was one of her important counselors, helping her through difficult circumstances. His loyalty and proficiency helped him achieve the position of Minister of Defense in 2004.
Following are the honours, awards and international recognition presented to him:
- "The best Finance Minister of the World" by Euromoney magazine in 1984.
- "Outstanding Parliamentarian Award" by Indian Parliamentary Group in 1997
- "Padma Vibhushan" by President of India in 2008.
- "Finance Minister of the Year for Asia" by Emerging Markets in 2010.
- "Finance Minister of the Year" by The Banker in December 2010.
- "Best Administrator in India Award" by K. Karunakaran Foundation in 2011
- "Awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree" by University of Wolverhampton in 2011.