Yashwant Sinha

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Yashwant Sinha
Yashwant Sinha IMF.jpg
Indian Minister for External Affairs
In office
1 July 2002 – 22 May 2004
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Preceded by Jaswant Singh
Succeeded by Natwar Singh
Personal details
Born (1937-11-06) November 6, 1937 (age 76)
Patna, Bihar, British India
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Website yashwantsinha.in

Yashwant Sinha (born November 6, 1932 in Patna[1]) is an Indian politician and a former finance minister of India (1990–1991 under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar and March 1998 – July 2002 under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee)[2] and foreign minister (July 2002 – May 2004)[3] in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet. He is a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party which is elected to be the single most dominant party of the Indian parliament in general election held in 2014. His son Jayant Sinha, a highly educated consultant and investor, won the elections from the Hazaribagh constituency.

Early life[edit]

Sinha was born in Patna, Bihar into a Kayastha family.[4] He received his Masters Degree in Political Science in 1958.[1] Subsequently, he taught the subject at the University of Patna till 1960.

Civil Service career[edit]

Yashwant Sinha joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1960 and spent over 24 years holding important posts during his service tenure. He served 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 which he worked in the Ministry of Commerce as Deputy Secretary to the Government of India.

From 1971 to 1973, he was First Secretary (Commercial) in the Indian Embassy, Bonn, Germany. Subsequently, he worked as Consul General of India in Frankfurt from 1973 to 1974. After working for over seven years in this field, he acquired experience in matters relating to foreign trade and India's relations with the European Economic Community. Thereafter, he worked in the Department of Industrial Infrastructure, Government of Bihar State and in the Ministry of Industry, government of India dealing with foreign industrial collaborations, technology imports, intellectual property rights and industrial approvals.

He later was Joint Secretary to Government of India in the Ministry of Surface Transport from 1980 to 1984, his main responsibilities were road transport, ports and shipping. He resigned from service in 1984.

Political career[edit]

Janata Dal[edit]

Yashwant Sinha resigned from the Indian Administrative Service in 1984 and joined active 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 (Upper House of the Indian Parliament) in 1988.

When the Janata Dal was formed in 1989, he was appointed General Secretary of the party. He worked as Minister of Finance from November, 1990 to June 1991 in Chandra Shekhar's Cabinet.

Finance minister[edit]

Sinha speaking at World Economic Forum on East Asia in 2008

Yashwant Sinha was the finance minister until July 1, 2002, when he exchanged jobs with foreign minister Jaswant Singh. Sinha, during his tenure, was forced to roll back some of his government's major policy initiatives for which he was much criticised.[5] Still, Sinha is widely credited for pushing through several major reform measures that put the Indian economy on a firm growth trajectory. Among them are lowering of real interest rates, introducing tax deduction for mortgage interest, freeing up the telecommunications sector, helping fund the National Highways Authority, and deregulating the petroleum industry. Sinha is also known for being the first Finance Minister to break the 53 year tradition of presenting the Indian budget at 5 pm local time, a practice held over from British Rule days that sought to present the Indian budget at a time convenient to the British Parliament (1130a GMT) rather than India's Parliament.

Sinha has written a comprehensive account of his years as Finance Minister titled Confessions of a Swadeshi Reformer.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Yashwant Sinha has a wide range of interests including reading, gardening and meeting people. He has widely travelled and has led a number of political and social delegations. He played a leading role in many negotiations on behalf of the country. Mr. Sinha's wife is Nilima Sinha, one of India's leading children's writers and President, Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children. He has a daughter, Sharmila who is a writer and married to Ashok Kantha, an IFS officer. He has 2 sons, Jayant and Sumant. Jayant Sinha is an IIT Delhi and Harvard Business School graduate.[7] He was a Partner in McKinsey & Company and later a Managing Director at Omidyar Network.[8] Jayant also contested elections to the Member of Parliament from Yashwant Sinha's home constituency of Hazaribagh, which he won by a huge margin of 1,59,128 votes, getting a total of 4,06,931 in his favour.[9] Sumant is an alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta and was a Dean's Fellow at The School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. He is the Founder and Chairman of ReNew Wind Power, a renewable energy power producer. Sumant Sinha starts his own firm.[10] He has 5 grandchildren named Siddhant, Aashir, Tarushi, Devansh and Rishabh.

Yashwant Sinha blogs under the title Musings of a Swadeshi Reformer.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Yashwant Sinha, a profile:Finance Minister, Government of India". Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  2. ^ "Yashwant Sinha gets finance, Advani home (Indian Express)". Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  3. ^ "Indian government reshuffled". BBC News. 2002-07-01. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  4. ^ Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar by Ashwani Kumar. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  5. ^ "290402". Samachar.com. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  6. ^ Confessions of a Swadeshi reformer at publisher site. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  7. ^ http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/jayant-sinha-rides-into-hazaribagh-114022501346_1.html
  8. ^ "ON | Jayant Sinha". Omidyar.com. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  9. ^ http://eciresults.nic.in/statewiseS27.htm?st=S27
  10. ^ "Sumant Sinha starts own firm - Money - DNA". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  11. ^ "Musings of a Swadeshi Reformer". Yashwantsinha.in. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Madhu Dandavate
Minister of Finance
November 1990–June 1991
Succeeded by
Manmohan Singh
Preceded by
P. Chidambaram
Minister of Finance
March 1998–July 2002
Succeeded by
Jaswant Singh
Preceded by
Jaswant Singh
Minister for External Affairs
July 2002–May 2004
Succeeded by
Natwar Singh
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Order of Precedence of India
as Joint Secretary to Government of India

1980 – 1984
Succeeded by