NEW DELHI: There is a need for political parties to develop a common minimum agenda regarding common man’s problems, said philanthropist and industrialist Vikramjit Singh Sahney during an interaction with New Indian Express editorial director Prabhu Chawla and the famous journalist Kaveree Bamzai in TNIE Expressions.
“The political parties must make a common minimum program. Many times it happens that one party does something and the other undoes it. We can have a 10 point agenda that all parties should agree on, ”he said. On his interest in giving back to society, Sahney said the sentiment was instilled in him by his parents and teachers. “When you overcome obstacles and face challenges, you feel like you have to give back. In the late 90s, we established the Sun Foundation and tackled issues such as female feticide, drug detoxification, and set up skill development centers, ”he said.
A total of 596 Afghan refugees are being trained at the Delhi Skills Development Center. These refugees were evacuated after the attack on a gurudwara in Kabul last year and during the recent instability. “I sent three charter flights to evacuate 520 Afghans. We are rehabilitating them all. We arranged the furniture, the living allowance, the free health insurance, the education of the children. We created the World Skill Center to train them. When the Taliban (takeover) took place, 76 refugees arrived. We are continuing their rehabilitation. We want them to get citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act. We will talk to Interior Minister Amit Shah about it, ”he said.
Speaking of the Covid pandemic, he said his foundation was delivering oxygen concentrators to rural areas. “During the first wave, we launched AI-based corona test ambulances. These buses traveled to infected areas and performed around 800 to 1,000 tests. They also had critical patients. We started to languish when we saw the migrant labor crisis. We succeeded in saving lives, but livelihoods had to be saved. “
“In the second wave, the problem was more serious. I have had Covid twice and it made me work harder. We could bring in about 1,000 concentrators. Our team was delivering concentrators to the needy faster than pizza. That was our slogan, ”he said and added that oxygen banks have been set up in every district of Punjab.
On the diplomatic front, Sahney said: “I am proud to represent India. I am Honorary Consul General of South Africa … Economically, we are part of South-South cooperation, ”he said. Sahney said that today there is a lot of momentum in economic diplomacy. When asked if India lost to China in Africa, he said the Chinese are successful because their government supports business.
“They can invest in rolling stock. We cannot do that. China organized the SAARC fair even without being a member. In India, it would not be welcomed if our foreign minister insisted on getting a contract for a company. We have to change the way we think, ”he said.