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Ashwini Vaishnaw is an Indian politician and member of the Bhartiya Janta Party. He represents Odisha state in Rajya Sabha. He is a member of the Parliament Of India and a former IAS officer from the Odisha cadre. He was born on 18 July 1970 in the Hindu Swami family, Jodhpur Rajasthan. He is Cabinet Minister and currently serving as Minister of Communications, Electronics & Information Technology. He is also the Minister of Railways in Modi led BJP Govt.
Vaishnaw did his schooling at St. Anthony’s Convent School and Mahesh School in Jodhpur Rajasthan. After schooling in 1991, he completed his graduation from MBM Engineering College, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He won Gold Medal in the Electronic and Communications Engineering course. Ashwini completed his M. Tech from IIT Kanpur and did his MBA from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania USA.
He cracked IAS with an all-India rank of 27. In 1994, Vaishnaw joined the Indian Administrative Service from the Odisha cadre. During his tenure, he served as District Collector of the Balasore and Cuttack districts. He came into the spotlight for his action when Super Cyclone hit Odisha in 1999. That killed at least 10,000 people. He collected Cyclone data from the US navy website and from other sources and kept updating Chief Secretary’s office. That information helps Odisha Govt. to take advanced safety measures for people.
He tracked the possible path of the Cyclone and worked with people living in the villages that were located in the path of the cyclone. He evacuated more than half a million people just before the cyclone hit the state. Later his strategy of evacuation was adopted as SOP throughout Eastern India. Because of his work style, communication and management skills, he was appointed as a deputy secretary in PMO in Vajpayee’s Govt and later as Private Secretary to Atal Bihari Vajpayee when BJP lost the election.
“He was a copybook officer who never kept work pending. He talks little and did not belong to any faction in the bureaucracy. Though he stayed mostly outside Odisha, his Odia speaking skills are proof of his eagerness to learn,” former Odisha chief secretary Sahadev Sahoo, who worked with Vaishnaw, told Hindustan Times.
During his tenure in the PMO office, he played a major role in Aatalji’s dream Projects. He was a key member in developing Public-Private Policy ( PPP ) framework in infrastructure development. The later PPP model led to thousands of km of highways, airports, ports and many more infrastructure projects. In 2006 he was appointed as Deputy Chairman of Mormugao Port Trust. He featured and developed projects for different types of terminals in Mormugao Port. He worked there for 2 years.
In 2010 Vaishnaw quit Govt. job when he realized he would face difficulty in repayment of his education loan. Vaishnaw joined private companies to repay his loan. After completing his MBA he worked with different companies like GE Transportation as managing director and Siemens as Vice President – Locomotives & Head of Urban Infrastructure Strategy.
In 2012 Vaishnaw left the corporate sector and established automotive manufacturing units, Vee Gee Auto Components Pvt Ltd. and Three Tee Auto Logistics Pvt. Ltd in Gujarat.
In 2019, he was elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha from the state of Odisha as a BJP candidate along with other two candidates from BJD. Odisha Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik responded positively to requests from Narendra Modi and Amit Shah for Vaishnaw’s nomination. This move surprised many people even party members from the BJD raised their eyes and opposed his nominations.
Vaishnaw was noticed by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah during his days in Gujarat where he was setting up his factory. They also knew him as a deputy secretary and as a private secretary to former Prime Minster Atalji.
He worked as a member of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation and Petitions and the Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests. In April 2021, He was appointed as a member of the Press Council of India ( PCI ) for three years.
In July 2021, there were 36 new appointees in the Modi government’s cabinet shuffle. Ashwini Vaishnaw from Odisha gave charge to the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
In December 2022, the President of India Smt. Draupadi Murmu was appointed Ashwini Vaishnaw as the first Chancellor of Gati Shakti Vaishwavidyalaya, Vadodara Gujrat.
Railway doing wonderful work under Ashwini Vaishnaw’s leadership. After Vande Bharat’s success, now Railway announced Vande Metro. Vande Metro is a mini semi-high-speed version of Vande Bharat. Also redeveloping the railway station under Amrit Bharat Yojana. 700 stations will be developed under “One Station, One Product”( OSOP ) across the country.
Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw also backed the Competition Commission of India’s decision to impose penalties on Google. He is taking Modi’s vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” to the next stage. Recently in Jan 2023, He and Education Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan successfully tested Indigenous Mobile Operating System BharOS.