Ashwini Vaishnaw retrains Railways, MeitY; gets I&B in Modi govt 3.0

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) Ashwini Vaishnaw, besides retaining his previous portfolios of Railways as well as Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, got a new responsibility as Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the third term of the Modi government.

In the previous Cabinet, the I&B Ministry was with Anurag Thakur, who has been reelected as Member of Parliament from Himachal Pradesh's Hamirpur.

Bureaucrat-turned-politician Vaishnaw first took charge as Railway Minister on July 7, 2021 and has continued it in the new cabinet formed on June 9, 2024.

A former IAS officer of the 1994-batch, Vaishnaw has handled important responsibilities for over 15 years and was particularly known for his contribution to the public-private partnership (PPP) framework in infrastructure.

Vaishnaw emerged one of the most successful Railway ministers for several initiatives, one of them being the introduction of 98 semi-high speed Vande Bharat trains.

The first pair of Vande Bharat trains was launched in February 2019 and today, according to the Railway Ministry, 102 trains are running across the country with an overall occupancy of 105.7 per cent.

According to the Ministry, the popularity of Vande Bharat trains can be gauged from the fact that till March 31, 2024, more than 2.15 crore people have travelled by it.

A total of 284 districts across the country have been connected to the Vande Bharat Express.

Under Vaishnaw, Railway achieved another milestone of laying 3,901 km of tracks in 2022-23, making it the highest ever in its history.

He is the fourth Railway Minister since Modi government came to power in May 2014. Before him, D V Sadananda Gowda, Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal held this portfolio.

Gowda, the first Railway Minister when Modi became the prime minister, served for 166 days in 2014 from May 27 to November 9.

After Gowda, Prabhu took charge of the ministry along with other cabinet positions till September 3, 2017, holding the portfolio for almost three years.

Under Modi’s first regime, Goyal was the third Railway Minister from September 3, 2017 to May 30, 2019. He was again entrusted with the responsibility of the ministry on May 31, 2019 during the the Modi government's second time.

Goyal continued till July 7, 2021 and became the longest serving Railway Minister under Modi regime with 3 years and 307 days. PTI JP NB