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Yashwant Sinha: Bureaucrat turned politician, now hitting out at Modi govt

The former Finance Minister's criticism of Modi govt's handling of the economy put the govt in a spot

BS Web Team & Agencies  |  New Delhi 

Opposition backs Yashwant Sinha for panning Modi govt's handling of economy
Yashwant Sinha

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha's opinion piece in Indian Express yesterday, set-off many reactions from the opposition to the government. While the government argued that all was well with the economy, the opposition expectedly sided with the former Finance Minister and BJP leader, Sinha. In his column titled, 'I need to speak up now', Sinha, who was Finance Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "claims he has seen poverty from close quarters (and) his finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters".

"Finance ministry, in the best of times, calls for the undivided attention of its boss if the job has to be properly done. In challenging times it becomes more than a 24/7 job. Naturally, even a superman like Jaitley could not do justice to the task," he wrote. 

Sinha also slammed the government over decisions like note ban and the The attack by Sinha set off a political storm while the government defended the economic situation, asserting the is the fastest growing in the world.

Here’s a brief profile on Yashwant Sinha:

is a bureaucrat turned politician. He is an Indian administrator, politician and a former Minister of Finance (1990–1991) under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar and March 1998 – July 2002 under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Minister of External Affairs July 2002 – May 2004).He is a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Having been a bureaucrat, entered into politics with a ticket from Janata Dal. He also served as the spokesperson of the Bharathiya Janata Party and as the Foreign Minister and Finance Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. 

Early Life

Sinha was born on November 6, 1937 in Patna, Bihar. He attended school and university at Patna. He completed his Masters in Political Science from Patna University in 1958 and taught Political Science at his alma-mater during 1958-1960.

Sinha joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1960 and held several posts during his 24-year tenure. He worked as Sub-Divisional Magistrate and District Magistrate for 4 years. He was Under Secretary and Deputy Secretary in the Finance Department of the Bihar Government for 2 years. After that he worked in the Ministry of Commerce as Deputy Secretary to the Government of India.

From 1971 to 1973, Sinha was First Secretary (Commercial) in the Indian Embassy in Germany. Subsequently, he worked as Consultant General of India in Frankfurt during 1973-1974. He also worked in the Department of Industrial Infrastructure, Government of Bihar and in the Ministry of Industry. Sinha was Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Surface Transport between 1980 and 1984. 

Political career

Sinha resigned from the IAS in 1984 and joined politics as a member of the Janata Party. He was appointed All-India General Secretary of the party in 1986 and was elected member of the Rajya Sabha in 1988. When the Janata Dal was formed in 1989, he was appointed its General Secretary. He worked as Minister of Finance from November 1990 to June 1991 in Chandra Shekhar's Cabinet. Sinha later joined the BJP and became its spokesperson in June 1996. He was appointed Finance Minister of India in March 1998 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

On 13 June 2009, he resigned from the post of vice-president of BJP.

as a Finance Minister

Sinha is credited with pushing through several major reform measures like lowering of real interest rates, introducing tax deduction for mortgage interest, freeing up the telecommunications sector, helping fund the Highways Authority, and deregulating the petroleum industry. During his tenure he was also criticized for the rolling back of some of the major initiatives of the government as a Finance Minister.

Now, that his views have set the cat amongst the pigeons, it remains to be seen whether there will be any rollback of these views or not.


1937: Born in Patna, Bihar

1958: Completed his Masters Degree in Political Science from the Patna University 1

1960: Joined Indian Administrative Service 

1984: Resigned from the Indian Administrative Service and joined politics 

1986: Became the All-India General Secretary of the Janata party 

1990-1991: Served as the Finance Minister in Chandrasekhar's cabinet 

1996: Became the spokesperson of the Bharathiya Janatha party

1998-2002: Served as the finance minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry

2002-2004: Served as the foreign minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry

2004: Was defeated in the Lok Sabha elections from the Hazaribagh constituency in Bihar

2009: Resigned from the post of Vice-President of BJP 

First Published: Thu, September 28 2017. 15:47 IST