As Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government underwent a shuffle on Wednesday, one name caught everyone’s attention: Ashwini Vaishnaw. More so because the former bureaucrat was handed over the responsibility of two crucial ministries, Electronics & Information Technology, Communications and Railways. He replaced two bigwigs of the Modi cabinet, Ravi Shankar Prasad for the IT ministry and Piyush Goyal for the Railways ministry.
All eyes will be on the newly-appointed minister as the Modi government seeks to regulate the contents of social media and digital platforms with the Information Technology (IntermediaryGuidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. Even after the rules came into effect from February 26, the sailing has not been smooth, especially for Twitter that has shown resistance to fully comply with the rules prompting the government to send multiple warnings. At best, the government’s relationship with the tech giants is fractious.
Vaishnaw, 51, steps in at such a point.
Vaishnaw is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Born in Jodhpur, Vaishnaw was a gold medalist in electronic and communications engineering from MBM Engineering College. He went to IIT Kanpur to pursue MTech. In 1994, he cracked the IAS with an all-India rank of 27.
In 2008, Vaishnaw left for the US to pursue an MBA degree from Wharton. He went to work for General Electric Co and Siemens AG upon completion of his degree. In 2012, he quit corporate work and set up Three Tee Auto Logistics Private Limited and Vee Gee Auto Components Private Limited that manufacture automotive components in Gujarat.
But before he headed to the US in 2008, Vaishnaw worked in Odisha till 2003. He was appointed deputy secretary in the PMO during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure. He was appointed Vajpayee’s private secretary after the NDA lost the election in 2004.
In 2006, he was named deputy chairman of Mormugao Port Trust where he continued to work till 2008.
He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha in 2019.
Upon being given the ministries, Vaishnaw thanked PM Modi for giving him the “opportunity to serve the nation” and added that he will work relentlessly.
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