Official Biography of Shri Pranab Mukherjee - Former President of India

Shri Pranab Mukherjee assumed office as the 13th President of India on July 25, 2012, crowning a political career of over five decades of exemplary service to the nation in Government as well as Parliament.

Eighty-one years old, Shri Mukherjee is a man of unparalleled experience in governance with the rare distinction of having served at different times as Foreign, Defence, Commerce and Finance Minister. He was elected to the Upper House of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) five times from 1969 and twice to the Lower House of the Parliament (Lok Sabha) from 2004. He was a member of the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy making body of the Party for a period of 23 years.

During the period 2004-2012, Shri Mukherjee was instrumental in spearheading critical decisions of the Government on a range of issues such as Administrative reforms, Right to Information, Right to Employment, Food Security, Energy Security, Information Technology and telecommunication, setting up of UIDAI, Metro Rail etc. through Chairmanship of over 95 Groups of Ministers constituted for the purpose. In seventies and eighties, he was instrumental in setting up the Regional Rural Banks (1975) and the EXIM Bank of India as well as National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (1981-82). Shri Mukherjee was also author of a modified formula for resource sharing between the Centre and the States in 1991 which came to be known as the Gadgil - Mukherjee formula.

A powerful orator and scholar, Shri Mukherjee’s intellectual and political prowess as well as remarkable knowledge of international relations, financial affairs and parliamentary process are widely admired. He has been acclaimed for his role as a consensus builder on difficult national issues through his ability to forge unity amongst the diverse political parties that form part of India’s vibrant multi-party democracy.

A man of humble origins, Shri Mukherjee was born in the small village of Mirati in Birbhum District of West Bengal as son of freedom fighters, Shri Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee and Rajlakshmi on December 11, 1935. Shri Mukherjee’s father was a Congress leader who endured great hardship including being sent to jail several times for his role in India’s struggle for independence.

Shri Mukherjee acquired a Master’s degree in History and Political Science as well as a degree in Law from the University of Kolkata. He then embarked on his professional life as a college teacher and journalist. Inspired by his father’s contribution to the national movement, Shri Mukherjee in 1969 plunged into full time public life following his election to the Upper House of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha).

Under the careful mentoring of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Shri Mukherjee’s rise in his political career was rapid. He was made Deputy Minister, Industry; Shipping and Transport, Steel and Industry and Minister of State for Finance in the period 1973-74. He assumed office as Finance Minister of India for the first time in 1982 in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was Leader of the House in the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) from 1980 to 1985. Later , he was Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission from 1991 to 1996, Minister for Commerce from 1993 to 1995, Minister of External Affairs from 1995 to 1996, Minister of Defence from 2004 to 2006 and once again the Minister of External Affairs from 2006 to 2009. He was the Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2012 and Leader of the Lower House of Parliament from 2004 to 2012 till he resigned to contest election to the office of the President.

Shri Mukherjee has extensive diplomatic experience and has served on the Board of Governors of the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and African Development Bank. He has led the Indian delegations to the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Conferences in 1982, 1983 and 1984; the United Nations General Assembly in 1994, 1995, 2005 and 2006, the Conference of Commonwealth Heads of Government at Auckland in 1995, the Non-Aligned Foreign Minister’s Conference at Cartagena in 1995 and the Conference to mark the 40th anniversary of the Afro –Asian Conference in Bandung in 1995.

A prolific reader, Shri Mukherjee has authored several books on the Indian Economy and on Nation Building. The many awards and honours conferred on him include India’s second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhusan in 2008, the Best Parliamentarian Award in 1997 and Best Administrator in India Award in 2011. He is recipient of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa conferred by the University of Dhaka in 2013; and Honoris Causa conferred by the University of Calcutta in 2014. ; Honorary Doctorate conferred by the Russian Diplomatic Academy in 2015; and Professor Honoris Causa conferred by the Belarus State University in 2015.Honorary Doctorate conferred by the University of Jordan in 2015; Honorary Doctorate conferred by Al-Quds University, Palestine in 2015; and Honorary Doctorate conferred by Hebrew University, Israel in 2015 and Honorary Doctorate conferred by the Kathmandu University, Nepal in 2016.He was rated one of the best five Finance Ministers of the world in 1984 according to a survey conducted by "Euro Money” Journal published from New York and was declared ‘Finance Minister of the year’ for Asia in 2010 by "Emerging Markets”, the journal of record for the World Bank and the IMF.

Shri Mukherjee was married to late Smt. Suvra Mukherjee (17.9.1940-18.8.2015), an accomplished singer of Rabindra Sangeet and an artist. He has two sons and a daughter.

Shri Mukherjee enjoys reading, gardening and music in his spare time. Simple in his tastes, Shri Mukherjee is a dedicated patron of the arts and culture.

An avid traveller, there are few parts of India and few countries in the world he has not visited in his illustrious and long public career.

Deputy Minister, Industrial DevelopmentFeb 1973 to Jan 1974
Deputy Minister, Shipping and TransportJanuary 1974 to October 1974
Deputy Minister, Steel and Industry...
Minister of State for FinanceOct 1974 to Dec 1975
Minister of State for Revenue and Banking (Independent Charge)Dec 1975 to March 1977
Cabinet Minister of Commerce and Steel and MinesJan 1980 to Jan 1982
Cabinet Minister of FinanceJan 1982 to Dec 1984
Additional charge of the Ministry of Commerce and SupplySept to Dec 31, 1984
Deputy Chairman, Planning CommissionJune 1991 to May 1996
Cabinet Minister of CommerceJan 1993 to Feb 1995
Cabinet Minister of External AffairsFeb 1995 to May 1996
Cabinet Minister of DefenceMay 2004 to 24 Oct 2006
Cabinet Minister of External AffairsOct 2006 to May 2009
Cabinet Minister of Finance24 Jan 2009 to 26 June 2012

Elected to Rajya Sabha1969, 1975, 1981, 1993, 1999
Elected to Lok Sabha2004, 2009, upto July 2012
Deputy Leader of the Congress Party in the Rajya Sabha1978-80
Chief Whip of Congress Party in the Rajya Sabha1996-2004
Leader of House in the Rajya Sabha1980-85
Member, Business Advisory Committee, Committee on Privileges and Committee on Rules Member, Consultative Committee on External Affairs1996-99
Chairman, Parliament Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests1997
Chairman, Parliament Standing Committee on Home AffairsJune 1998 to May 2004
Leader of the Lok SabhaJune 2004 to June 2012

Member, Congress Working CommitteeJanuary 27, 1978 to January 18, 1986, August 10, 1997 till June 25, 2012
President, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee1985, August 2000 to June, 2010
Member, Central Parliamentary Board, All India Congress Committee (AICC)1978 to 1986
Treasurer of the AICC1978 to 1979
Treasurer of the Congress (I) Party in Parliament1978 to 1979
Chairman, Economic Advisory Cell, AICC1987 to 1989
Chairman, Campaign Committee of the AICC for conducting National Elections to Parliament1984, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999
Chairman, Central Election Coordination Committee of the AICCJune 28, 1999 onwards
Member, Central Election Committee, AICCDecember 12, 2001 to 25 June, 2012
Resigned from the Congress Party prior to contesting to the office of President of India25 June, 2012

Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)1982 to 1985, 2009 - 2012
Board of Governors, World Bank1982 to 1985, 2009 to 2012
Board of Governors, Asian Development Bank (ADB)1982 to 1985, 2009 to 2012
Board of Governors, African Development Bank1982 to 1985, 2009 to 2012
Chairman, Group of 24 nations in IMF and World Bank1984, 2011-12
Chairman, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Council of Ministers ConferenceMay 1995, November 1995, April 2007

Colombo Plan Finance Ministers’ Conference, Singapore and Colombo1975, 1976
The Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Conferences1982, 1983, 1984
The Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF1982, 1983, 1984, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Annual Meetings of the ADB1982, 1983, 1984, 2010, 2011, 2012
Ministerial Conference of WTO at Marrakesh1994
The United Nations General Assembly1994, 1995, 2005, 2006
The Social Summit at Copenhagen1995
The 40th Anniversary of the Afro-Asian Conference at Bandung1995
The Conference of Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM), Auckland1995
The Non-Aligned Foreign Minister’s Conference, Cartagena1995

President of the Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan1995 to 2001, 2004 to June 2012
Chairman, Planning Board, Asiatic Society, Kolkata1984 to 1986, 1992 to 1996, 2004-2012
Trustee, Bangiya Sahitya Parishad1984 to 1990
Trustee Bidhan Memorial Trust, Kolkata1998 to June 2012

Beyond Survival: Emerging Dimensions of Indian Economy1984
Off the Track1987
Saga of Struggle and Sacrifice1992
Challenges Before the Nation1992
Thoughts and Reflections2014
The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years’2014
The Turbulent Years – 1980-19962016
The Coalition Years: 1996 - 20122017