Ashwini Vaishnaw, a bureaucrat-turned-entrepreneur-turned-politician who took over as the country’s new railway minister on Thursday, emerged as the top gainer in Wednesday’s Cabinet reshuffle, securing the information technology (IT), telecom, and railways ministries.
Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament from Odisha, age 50, is a former Indian Administrative Service officer of the 1994 batch who resigned in 2010. In his bureaucratic years, he handled significant responsibilities including Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s PMO. He is credited to have pushed the modern public-private partnership (PPP) framework in infrastructure.
Beyond government, he also served as managing director of GE Transportation and vice president of Siemens Locomotive, where he was responsible for infrastructure strategy. He left the corporate world in 2012 to pursue entrepreneurship, establishing two automotive component manufacturing facilities in Gujarat.
He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha in 2019. Vaishnaw earned his MTech from IIT-Kanpur following a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications. He studied management at the University of Pennsylvania‘s Wharton School.
He also played a pivotal role in developing the public-private partnership (PPP) model for the infrastructure sector, as well as implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software at Goa Port.
Took charge as Cabinet Minister of Railways today. Once again from the core of my heart, I extend my gratitude to Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji for entrusting me this responsibility.@RailMinIndia pic.twitter.com/OvhRwVHFNX
“Excellent work has been done in the Railways over the past 67 years. I am here to take the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi forward,” Vaishnaw said while he took the charge.