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Ashwini Vaishnaw.

Ashwini Vaishnaw may not be a household name but he is an emerging star of the Modi government.

Vaishnaw, who has made a straight entry into the Union Cabinet without any stint as Minister of State, is a former IAS officer holding degrees from IIT Kanpur and Wharton Business School, and a BJP Rajya Sabha member from Odisha since 2019.

In addition, during the oath-taking ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Vaishnaw was quite high in the pecking order, which might indicate his seniority in the Cabinet and among the new Ministers.

An engineer, CEO, IAS officer, entrepreneur, and finally a politician, he also did a stint in the PMO when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

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Vaishnaw served as a Collector in Odisha's Balasore and Cuttack districts. While a Collector in Balasore, the National Human Rights Commission placed on record its appreciation of the sincerity, dedication, and commitment displayed by Vaishnaw in organizing and executing relief and rehabilitation work in his district.

politician Indian cyclone 05B that hit Orissa region, in India, in late October 1999. Wikimedia Commons

In 1999, Odisha was hit by a super cyclone that killed thousands of people. Before the super cyclone hit, Vaishnaw logged into a US Navy website to track its path. He tracked the cyclone every hour and sent a report to the Chief Secretary at regular intervals, which became a major source of information for the Odisha government about the cyclone. This information helped government take the necessary steps which saved many lives.

He worked in Odisha till 2003, when he was appointed as Deputy Secretary in the office of then Prime Minister Vajpayee.

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After his brief stint in the PMO where he contributed to creating the public-private-partnership framework in infrastructure projects, Vaishnaw was appointed as Vajpayee's Private Secretary after the BJP-led NDA lost the election in 2004.

In 2006, he became Deputy Chairman of the Mormugao Port Trust, where he worked for the next 2 years. On completing his MBA in the US, Vaishnaw came back to India, quit the IAS in 2010, and joined GE Transportation as Managing Director. Then he joined Siemens as the Vice President, Locomotives & Head, Urban Infrastructure Strategy.

In 2012, he quit the corporate sector and set up Three Tee Auto Logistics Private Ltd and Vee Gee Auto Components Private Ltd, both automotive components manufacturing units in Gujarat. (IANS/KB)


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