World renowned economist and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has been chosen as "The Punjabi of the Year, 2005" by the Punjab Today, the leading global magazine devoted to Punjab published from Patiala. A panel comprising distinguished intellectuals and public figures from across the country, selected Ahluwalia from shortlisted band of five Punajbis who have made outstanding contribution in different walks of life.
Mr. Ahluwalia, alongwith Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Narsimha Rao, is credited with scripting a bold and new economic vision for the country in the changed post-cold war global scenario, pulling out of the self-constricting environs of state owned centralised planning and putting it firmly on the road to economic glasnost at a time when most Indian planners were stuck in the Soviet model of socialist economy tempered only with a mild dose of democracy. His principal achievement lay in shaking a termite eaten bureaucracy out of its self-congratulatory cocoon and forcing it to take a back seat, allowing massive doses of free enterprise to launch India into the higher orbit of global economy. When India attains the status of an effective economic superpower in the decade to come, Ahluwalia's role would be seen as one of a quiet executioner who brought about a bloodless revolution in the country's economic and adminsitrative vision.
In a statement, Kanwar Manjit Singh, editor, Punjab Today, lauded Ahluwalia for his pioneering role in rewriting India's economic destiny. He paid glowing tributes to Ahluwalia's moral courage, intellectual integrity, personal honesty and his unswerving commitment to decent and dignified conduct in public life.
According to Mr. Brahm Mohindra, Chairman, Organising Committee, Punjab Today Foundation, Mr. Ahluwalia will be presented the award in November 2006, and the prominent personalities of the country will grace the Annual Award Ceremony. A Special issue of PUNJAB TODAY, will be released at the Function depicting the life of Sardar Ahluwalia.
Earlier recipients of the award include Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister, Mr. I. K. Gujral, Governor-Tamilnadu, S. Surjit Singh Barnala, noted film star, social activist and Union Minister, Late Sunil Dutt, former Test Cricketer and now international broadcaster and Member of Parliament, Navjot Singh Sidhu, noted classical singer duo, Tejpal Singh and Surinder Singh, known as Singh Bandhus and spiritualist Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Yogi.