The Union Cabinet on Tuesday condoled the demise of former President Pranab Mukherjee and said the country has lost a distinguished leader and an outstanding parliamentarian. The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also observed silence for two minutes in the memory of Mukherjee.
"The cabinet expresses profound sorrow at the sad demise of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India. In his passing away, the country has lost a distinguished leader and an outstanding parliamentarian," the Cabinet said in a resolution. The Cabinet said Mukherjee, the 13th President of India, was a man of unparalleled experience in governance who served as the country's Foreign, Defence, Commerce and Finance Minister.
Mukherjee (84) died on Monday evening at the Army's Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi cantonment following a 21-day battle with multiple ailments. He was cremated with full state honours at the Lodhi Road electric crematorium in the afternoon.
Born on December 11, 1935 in the small village of Mirati in Birbhum District of West Bengal, 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, Mukherjee started his full time public life following his election to Rajya Sabha in 1969. He served as Deputy Minister, Industry; Shipping and Transport, Steel and Industry and Minister of State for Finance during 1973-75, the Cabinet said in its resolution.
He assumed office as Finance Minister of India for the first time in 1982 and was Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1985. He became Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission from 1991 to 1996; concurrently Minister for Commerce from 1993 to 1995 and Minister of External Affairs from 1995 to 1996; Minister of Defence from 2004 to 2006.
He again served as Minister of External Affairs from 2006 to 2009 and Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2012. He was Leader of House in Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2012. Mukherjee assumed office of the President of India on July 25, 2012 and served his full term of five years. As President, Mukherjee lent dignity to the high office and brought to bear his scholarly and humanitarian outlook on national and international affairs.
A prolific reader, Mukherjee has authored several books on the Indian Economy and on Nation Building. The many awards and honours conferred on him include the Best Parliamentarian Award in 1997, Padma Vibhusan in 2008 and India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in 2019. Mukherjee has left his imprint on our national life. In his death the country has lost a distinguished national leader, accomplished Parliamentarian and a tall statesman, the Cabinet said.
"The Cabinet records its deep appreciation of the services of Shri Pranab Mukherjee to the nation and extends its heartfelt condolences to the members of his bereaved family on behalf of the Government and the entire nation," the resolution read.