Published on Thursday, February 20, 2014
A Discussion With Mr. Yashwant Sinha

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Duvvuri Rohini Pratyusha
Baratiya Vidya Bhavan hosted an interactive session between former Finance Minister and senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Yashwant Sinha and the general public on the 14th of February 2014. The principles of ILOA and IIS, Mrs.Asha Sharma and Mr Shafeeq respectively, witnessed the event.

Given Below are the questions asked by the audience, which were very well answered by Mr.Sinha.

Q) What are your comments on the current Educational System of India?

A) Over the past few years our educational system has improved a lot. The rural areas are getting the benefits of this new system. The girl child must be educated, for if you educate a woman, you educate a household. The education here in Kuwait is good too. Children here are molded to become global citizens.

Q) How can we expatriates contribute to our nation?

A) Well, the expats from all over the world, especially the US and the Gulf region are sending back money everyday. The value of the Indian Rupee remains constant through these remittances.
However, there are times when the country's economy dips a little and in such cases, do not withdraw your money from your accounts. If you do, then we shall also have a current account deficit. Trust India's economy and it will surely bounce back.

Those with technical knowledge can become entrepreneurs back in our nation. Many of you must be holding good positions. Use your contacts to improve the relationship between Kuwait and India. Kuwait is of huge strategic importance. This will surely benefit the nation.

Q) Why isn't there any law to eradicate corruption and remove corrupt politicians from the Government? What about bribery and illegal money transactions?

A) Earlier, there was a Draconian system related to foreign exchange. The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) treated people who violated the subjects/laws that came under FERA as criminal offenders. This was soon replaced by the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), which liberalized foreign exchange controls and restrictions on foreign investment. Under this, offenses related to foreign exchange aren’t civil offenses.

In other words we did have a harsh rule but it was removed. This is because too many rules destroy democracy.

Lets say that one Government formulates a law and it works well, but when its term is over and another one comes in- the same law may be interpreted differently.

It is difficult to have such a law in the first place because who shall decide who are corrupted and what is the bar for corruption? Corruption- at what stage?

Democracy’s main principle is discussion. Too many laws would restrict this.

Q) The prices of tickets for international flights are rising. They aren’t very affordable. Is there some way to bring down these prices?

A) The Competition Commission was set up in 2002 and is responsible for enforcing the Competition Act of 2002. The Competition Commission of India was established to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India.

Earlier there were only two airlines in the country and the Government owned both of them. (Air India and Indian Airlines). Hence the price rates were fixed and affordable.

Ever since India has allowed private ownership, the competition has risen amongst the airlines.

There were times when both Air India and Indian Airlines went on strike. Taking advantage of this, the other private owned airlines would increase the price of their tickets.

This happens even today. Of course the most logical explanation is to allow more competition and bring in more airlines.

Q) Don’t you think it is indeed a disgrace to slavishly rely on English disregarding our mother tongue Hindi?

A) Our biggest resource is our human resource. They are highly in demand because of many aspects, an important one being their knowledge of English and communication skills.

Even China, a country whose citizens are known for their patriotism, is moving towards English education as English is a lingua franca and its importance can never be undermined.

The British colonized many countries, and after they left, the colonies decided not to learn English to show disapproval towards what the British did. But recognizing the Global trend, they too are equipping themselves with English.

Q) Now even Civil servants are entering politics. Is this a good trend?

A) It is a good thing that civil servants are entering politics. Politics should have professionally qualified individuals with a lot of experience behind them. In fact, before entering politics one must also be good at something else and have a different career.

Q) Are there any tips you would offer on raising our kids in the beat way possible (ethically)?

A) The values imbibed by your child at school and home must be mutually reinforcing.

Q) If the NDA gets elected, will it bring back all the black money currently abroad?

A few years back HSBC released information about the "black money account holders". It was decided that their names would be announced only after public prosecution. The media found out about this three years later and announced some of these names. This was quite offensive. Many of these banks such as the Swiss Bank have the policy of secrecy or- not disclosing the names of the black money account holders.

The NDA will ensure transparency, which will help India.

We must tell those corporations/organizations firmly that we require that information.

The following steps must be followed:

1.Ensure firm political will and reduce internal conflict.

2.Choose instruments to get work done.

3.Determine how to use the instruments/methods.

4.Work with organizations such as the UN, IMF, etc. to get information.

Mr.Premkumar, Principal of Indian Educational School praised Mr. Sinha for his sea of knowledge and unbiased answers. He also commented on his highly valued ethics.

All in all the event was an exhilarating experience as this was the first time I ever got an opportunity to talk to a such an eminent leader of our country who has a vision and a mission yet humble ,amiable and down to earth. The audience went back with a great lesson - ethics play a very important role in a person's life.

Disclaimer: Statements and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and written by them; the author is solely responsible for the content in this article. does not hold any responsibility for them.

Disclaimer:Statements and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and written by them; the author is solely responsible for the content in this article. does not hold any responsibility for them.

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