About Purno Agitok Sangma
Purno Agitok Sangma was born on 1 September 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of the State of Meghalaya in North East India. Growing up in the small tribal village, young Sangma realised early in life that he would have to struggle hard to rise in life. Inspired by his mother who inculcated in him the values of diligence, humility and honesty, he learnt that education was the only way to progress in life. After completing his graduation from St. Anthony's College, he went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.
Sangma came to the national political scene in 1977 when the country was preparing for the Sixth General Elections. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Tura constituency in his home State on the Congress ticket. The 30-year-old Sangma entered the portals of Parliament at a time when the nation was witnessing a major political change with the Congress Party losing power at the Center for the first time since Independence. It was an opportune moment for a budding parliamentarian to make his mark and the articulate Sangma made full use of the opportunity to make an impact as a sincere and hard-working member.
Sangma assumed the Independent Charge of the Ministry of Labour in January 1993. As the Union Labour Minister, he headed the Tripartite Indian Delegation to the International Labour Conference in Geneva six times where he proved his mettle repeatedly. He was also elected the Chairman of the Asia and Pacific Region for the International Labour Ministers' Conference, 1994-95. When foreign investors had just begun to favour India as their destination and a furore was raised in some quarters over the so-called 'social clause' issue, Sangma, as Labour Minister, organised a Conference of Labour Ministers from Non-aligned and other Developing Countries in 1994-95. In September 1995, Sangma took over as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, the post he held till the General Elections to the Eleventh Lok Sabha.
As a parliamentarian, Sangma, by virtue of his interest as well as the offices he held, was active in several Committees. He was a member of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Committee on Communications and Committee on Government Assurances and Chairman of the Parliamentary Consultative Committees on Labour, Coal and Communications.
Sangma was elected to the Lok Sabha for the fifth time from the Tura constituency in the 1996 General Elections. On 23 May 1996, he was unanimously elected the Speaker of the Eleventh Lok Sabha with universal support cutting across all political parties. In half a century of Indian parliamentary history, he was the first member from the Opposition to hold the office of the Speaker.
Sangma has been closely associated with various social organisations and educational institutions. He was the Editor of a Meghalaya daily, Chandambeni Kalrang. He has also edited two volumes of the book India in ILO.