The Time 'Person of the Year 2014' will be announced next month and the publication said the title will be "bestowed to those who have, for good or for ill, most influenced the news and our lives in the past year".
Describing Modi as "once a controversial regional leader", Time said he became India's prime minister after leading his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a "landslide electoral victory on a platform of economic development".
Time has asked its readers to vote for the individual who they think should get the title of Person of the Year and the winner of the reader's choice poll will be announced next month before Time's editors choose the individual from the 50 candidates as the honouree.
Modi has so far got 3.8 per cent of the votes, the fourth highest after Russian President Vladimir Putin, teenage Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and Ebola doctors and nurses "who are risking their lives to treat and contain the outbreak in the hot zone".
Last year, Pope Francis had won the 'Person of the Year'
In a separate "Face-off" poll, Modi has been pitted against Indonesia's new president Joko Widodo. The other candidates in the fray for the 'Person of the Year' title are US President Barack Obama, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, US Secretary of State John Kerry and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Among the business chiefs and artists in the fray are Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba founder Jack Ma, auto major GM's first female CEO Mary Barra, Apple CEO Tim Cook and singers Beyonce, Taylor Swift, reality star Kim Kardashian and actress Jennifer Lawrence.
Last year's 'Person of the Year', Pope Francis, is also among the candidates along with the 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.