Manmohan Singh (born 26 September 1932) is a leading business leader and politician in the Punjabi Republic of Workers and Peasants. He is credited with much of the Punjab's economic transformation, spurred on by the creation of Special Economic Zones beginning in the 1980s. Manmohan has been called "the inventor of the modern Punjab", "Punjab's CEO", and "killer of the Revolution".
Manmohan was born in the tiny village of Gah and attended university at Chandigarh, where he studied Marxist economics. He attended graduate classes in nearby India, where he was exposed to capitalist ideas. When he returned home, however, Manmohan appeared in every respect a loyal Sikh-Socialist and began to seek work within the Party. He was hired as a staffer to the Economic Committee in 1970, where his expertise and his pragmatism distinguished him. Manmohan was appointed to the Committee itself in 1979.
Manmohan began seriously promoting a liberalization plan in the early 1980s, and the mature form of his SEZ project emerged by 1985. By that point, economic stagnation gripped the Punjab, and Party leaders feared that their hold on power would slip if something could not be done to reduce poverty and spur growth. Manmohan was placed in charge of the first SEZ, a tract of the Gulberg town in Lahore that was supposed to be developed for hi-tech industry. Soon, Manmohan had invested in a hotel, beginning the process of turning the area into a tourist hot spot.
Manmohan built a casino in Gulberg in 1990, and he followed this with a few others, both within Lahore and in SEZs outside the city. By the end of the decade Glberg was known as the "Punjabi Riviera", home to the country's swankiest night life. The economic boom that followed this development helped all Punjabis, but none more so than Manmohan himself. Allegations of corruption and gross conflict of interest have not hurt his position on the Committee, which he has chaired since 1988; as long as his policies continue to bring prosperity, Manmohan Singh is likely to remain one of the Punjab's wealthiest and most powerful men.