PV Narasimha Rao, the ninth Prime Minister of India, posthumously received the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, on February 9, 2024. This recognition highlights his significant contributions to India’s political and economic landscape.

Rao was a multilingual scholar and seasoned politician known for his strategic thinking and quiet demeanor. He navigated challenges posed by the political establishment and bureaucracy to implement his reforms.His tenure saw significant achievements but also left behind unresolved issues.

Important Details:

  • Tenure: 1991-1996
  • Party: Indian National Congress (INC)
  • Significant Achievements:
    • Economic Liberalization: Navigated the 1991 economic crisis through bold reforms, ushering in liberalization and globalization. Introduced LPG (Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization) policies, paving the way for India’s economic progress.
    • Foreign Policy: Established diplomatic relations with Israel, initiated the “Look East” policy towards Southeast Asia, and rekindled the nuclear program. Defeated a UN resolution against India in 1994.
    • Domestic Issues: Effectively handled Punjab insurgency and adopted a tough stance against terrorism in Kashmir. Established the National Human Rights Commission.
  • Controversies: Accused of involvement in the Babri Masjid demolition and the JMM bribery case.
  • Legacy: Credited with transforming India’s economic trajectory and strengthening its foreign policy. Recognized as a decisive leader who navigated difficult times.

Leading through Crisis and Economic Reforms (1991):

Facing a severe economic crisis with dwindling foreign reserves, crippling deficits, and downgraded credit ratings, Rao took charge in 1991. He appointed Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister and launched bold reforms later known as the “LPG policies.”

  • Reforms: Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization. Import duties were lowered, foreign direct investment allowed, industrial policies revamped, and business controls relaxed.
  • Impact: The crisis was averted, inflation curbed, and economic growth initiated. India embarked on the path to becoming a globalized economy.

Foreign Policy Initiatives

  • “Look East” Policy: Prioritized economic and strategic cooperation with Southeast Asian nations. Established a free trade agreement with ASEAN and strengthened security ties.
  • Other Key Moves: Established diplomatic relations with Israel, revived the nuclear program, and successfully defeated a UN resolution against India in 1994.


Accusations of involvement in the Babri Masjid demolition and the JMM bribery case.