Wharton Alumnus Ashwini Vaishnaw Takes Oath In India’s Union Cabinet

Who is Ashwini Vaishnaw? Why is he in the news currently?

Ashwini Vaishnaw is the new Minister in the Indian cabinet for

  • Railways
  • Communications
  • Electronics and Information Technology

What is Ashwini Vaishnaw’s educational background?

  • Bachelor’s from MBM Engineering College (JNVU) Jodhpur
  • Master’s from IIT Kanpur
  • MBA, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

What is Ashwini Vaishnaw’s professional experience?

Ashwini Vaishnaw has had impressive stints – an entrepreneur, an Executive in the private sector, and a bureaucrat in India’s Government. 

  • Collector, Balasore, and Cuttack districts
  • Deputy Secretary, PMO, in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s office
  • Deputy Chairman, Mormugao Port Trust
  • Managing Director, GE Transportation
  • Vice President, Siemens
  • Founder, Three Tee Auto Logistics Private Limited
  • Founder, Vee Gee Auto Components Private Limited
  • Member of Committee on Subordinate Legislation and Petitions and Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, Government of India

What is the Minister’s immediate responsibility?

The PM has entrusted the Minister with three ministries. However, the Railways demand Ashwini Vaishnaw’s immediate attention. All eyes are on the new Minister, and the people of India hope to see Ashwini turn the Railways around.

However, the work required to revamp in the ministry might be mind-boggling. At the outset, the journey looks replete with the buzz and frenzy of high-speed bullet trains. The nationwide lockdown from the pandemic ensued a drop in passenger and freight traffic, resulting in a steep decline in revenues by Rs. 36,993 crores in 2020. Revenue growth was marginal even before the pandemic had set. 

Indian Railways face tough completion from airlines and road transport. Budget airlines carry passengers to destinations more comfortably than trains. The road infrastructure has improved for passengers to use vehicles and transporting freight by trucks.

Indian Railways can not match their global peers in the facilities and services they offer. The Railways must improve their quality of service vastly to survive.

Railways’ Electrification scheme

The Comptroller and Auditor General had come down hard on the railways for delaying track electrification, leading to a Rs. 3,000 crores cost overrun. The Railways had dragged tenders for approval to over nine years.

The Railways now hope to get the electrification ready by 2023 as the pandemic had stalled the work further. The sector expects to reduce fuel usage and costs with the electrification of tracks.

Privatizing the Railways

The Railways will be partnering with private parties for passenger train operations to augment service quality. The first phase will see over one hundred and fifty-one state-of-the-art passenger trains in about two hundred routes.

The I & B Ministry

Twitter, the micro-blogging site, has recently got on the wrong side of the Government of India. Ashwini Vaishnaw has assumed the office of Information Technology from Ravi Shankar Prasad. Everyone is waiting to see how the new Minister will bring the site to comply with the Government’s norms.

The Minister has promised to transform the lives of all the people in India. He wants to ensure that the commoners, farmers, and the poor benefit from the Railways. He said he would work to realize the Prime Minister’s vision of transforming the railways.

Ashwini’s fifteen-year stint in PPP (Public-private-partnership) infrastructure framework gives him an edge in turning the Railways around effectively.

The public is confident the Minister will deliver as promised in all the three departments.

To know more about MBA in 2021: Click Here