Montek Singh conferred 'Sikh of the Year' 2008 award

Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia honoured.

Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has been conferred with the coveted 'Sikh of the Year' award for his outstanding contributions to the growth of modern Indian economy.

Ahluwalia, one of the pioneers of the country's economic renaissance, received the award from Viscount Slim, a pro-India cross bench peer, at a gala dinner organised by the 'Sikh Forum International' at the glittering Great Hall in Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn, London.

Recognizing his achievements and various impressive positions he held at the World Bank and later with the government of India, the citation recalled that in August this year, India honoured him with the prestigious Lokmanya Tilak Puraskar in recognition of his contribution towards the economic growth of the country.

"Sixty-years after independence, India is delivering on it's promise and it is the likes of Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia that are now allowing us to say 'Mera Bharat Mahan' - My India is Great," the citation stated.

In his acceptance speech, Ahluwalia said it's an honour to receive such a prestigious award. "It is a special privilege to come to the Lincoln's Inn to receive the Award."

"It is rather nice that the Forum has given the award to someone from India. I have a small role in the whole process of what is takingĀ  place in India - the change in the economic scenario," Ahluwalia said.

He also attributed the economic success to the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had taken the initiative in 1991 when he was the Finance Minister.

"It is Dr Manmohan Singh who set India on a completely different path - upward path. In the last four years, India had registered a growth of 9 per cent and I am confident that despite the ongoing global financial crisis, the country would fare better than many others," he said.

"Our growth will be not less than 7 per cent."

He also lauded the achievements of Indian diaspora in their efforts and asked the NRI community to invest more and more in India.

High Commissioner Mukherjee, on the occasion, said even in 1991 Dr Ahluwalia as Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, had played a crucial role in architecting the modern Indian economy.

Dr Ahluwalia also launched a publication "The Granth as the Eternal Guru", brought out by the Sikh Forum International.

In addition, Dr Rami Ranger, a leading NRI entrepreneur, presented "Don't Break Up India", a biography by his father, Shaheed Nanak Singh to Dr Ahluwalia.

A host of dignitaries including Indian High Commissioner to UK, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, Lord Khalid Hameed, Lord Navnit Dholakia, OBE, Lord Falconer, Lord Griffiths, Lord Hannay, Lord John Stevens, Lord Sheikh, Baroness Verma and Judge Mota Singh (Retd) QC attended the function.

President of the Sikh Forum International, Ranjit Singh, OBE presented a cheque for 32,000 pounds to the Prince's Trust.

(With inputs from agencies)

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