Yale visit great learning experience: Indian MPs

"It would help us to do better once we go back," said Anurag Singh Thakur, BJP MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, who was the part of Indian delegation of parliamentarians visiting the Yale University last week.

Mohammed Hamdullah Sayeed, the youngest Lok Sabha MP at 26, called it a great learning experience and said the classes at the Yale have widened the horizon of the Members of Parliament.

Congress MP from Mumbai Priya Dutt said: "The whole Yale programme was fantastic. Most of the time, your focus is on your constituency and issues of India, but when you go to programmes like this, you really get a sense of how India is perceived globally, encourages you think out of the box."

Observing that more Indian MPs be exposed to such programmes, Dutt said, "Usually bureaucracy gets exposure like this, but not the politicians."

Though bitter rivals back home, the MPs said this was hardly felt during their week-long trip to the US as part of the 3rd India–Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme.

Besides attending classes at the Yale University, the MPs met government officials, lawmakers and think tank in Washington.

"Questions that were asked (by MPs) to policy makers and to professors were basically the same and the concerns for India were the same," Dutt said.

"Though this was not an official delegation, still whatever deliberations we had with the officials and politicians, we would convey our inputs to our party leaders and to the government because we think that they are important," BJP's Prakash Javadekar said.

Congress MP Abhishek M Singhvi said there is a far greater awareness and appreciation of each other's point of view, in a melting pot where political boundaries do not matter.

"It has provided an appropriate forum to pause and reflect on vital issues of contemporary significance –- something not always possible amidst the hurly burly of parliamentary politics in India," Singhvi said.

The issues we discussed have been mind opening, he said, and varied from climate change to poverty amelioration, from religion and politics to the application of game theory in public life, from the art of negotiation to the inner analysis of the contemporary financial crisis.

"The process was completely interactive, aggressively candid and involved the best and the brightest on these subjects each coming to us with established global reputation. In the ultimate analysis, the objective of this entire exercise was to hear, learn, imbibe, absorb, but most significantly to deliver for India," Singhvi said.

The India–Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme was launched in 2007, in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the India–US Forum of Parliamentarians.

Other MPs who were part of the delegation were Jayant Chaudhary (RLD), H D Kumaraswamy (JDS), Shruti Choudhry (Cong), Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo (BJD), Naresh Gujral (SAD), Mausam Benazir Noor (Cong) and Ijyaraj Singh (Cong)

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