Ex-Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will be valuable asset in Modi 3.0

New Delhi, June 9 (UNI) IAS officer-turned politician, Ashwini Vaishnaw, who served as Minister of Railways, Communications, and Electronics and IT in the previous Modi government, was on Sunday inducted into the Union Cabinet as part of Modi 3.0.

Vaishnaw, who was brought into the Union Cabinet in July 2021 and given charge of Railways, is a former IAS officer who holds degrees from IIT Kanpur and Wharton Business School. He is a BJP Rajya Sabha member from Odisha.

A resident of Jeewand Kallan village of Pali district in Rajasthan, Vaishnaw was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha twice with the support of the Biju Janata Dal — during 2019 and 2024.

He joined the IAS in the Odisha cadre and has worked extensively in different parts of Odisha and served as the District Collector of Balasore and Cuttack.

Vaishnaw did his schooling at St. Anthony’s Convent School, Jodhpur, and at Mahesh School, Jodhpur, and graduated in 1991 with a gold medal in Electronics and Communications Engineering. He completed his M. Tech from IIT Kanpur before joining the Indian Administrative Service in 1994.

He worked in Odisha till 2003. He was effective in managing the aftermath of the Super Cyclone 1999 which devastated Odisha, claiming the lives of over 10,000 people in coastal Odisha.

He was appointed as Deputy Secretary in the office of former Prime Minister Ata Bihari Vajpayee where he contributed to creating the public-private-partnership framework in infrastructure projects.

In 2006, he became Deputy Chairman of Mormugao Port Trust and worked for about two years.

Vaishnaw left the civil services in 2010 to join the private sector, and joined as Managing Director of GE Transportation. Subsequently, he joined Siemens as the Vice President – Locomotives and Head Urban Infrastructure Strategy.

His political career started when after being elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha, he joined the Modi government as Railways Minister.

Vaishnaw was appointed as a member of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation and Petitions and Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests.

It is during Vaishnaw‘s tenure as minister that India launched the high-speed Vande Bharat Express in the country.

As Union Telecom Minister, Vaishnaw launched the Sanchar Saath portal in May 2023.

Vaishnaw, however, faced severe criticism from the Opposition which demanded his resignation owning moral responsibility for one of the biggest train tragedies in the country in Odisha’s Balasore district on June 2 last year.

In the accident at Bahanaga Railway station, considered as one of the deadliest railway crashes, involving three trains – the Coromandel Express, SMVT Bangalore-Howrah Superfast Express, and a goods train, about 296 people were killed and over 1,000 passengers injured.

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