Ashwini Vaishnaw takes charge as railway minister, Ravneet Singh as MoS

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (PTI) BJP leader Ashwini Vaishnaw took charge of the Railway ministry on Tuesday at the Rail Bhavan here in the presence of senior officials and staff members of the ministry.

Party leader from Punjab Ravneet Singh also assumed office during the day as the Union minister of state for railways.

Both Vaishnaw and Singh were welcomed by Railway Board Chairman and CEO Jaya Varma Sinha and other senior officials of the ministry.

Addressing the media after taking charge, Vaishnaw said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought a lot of reforms in railways in the past 10 years such as electrification of rail routes, laying of new tracks, introduction of new types of trains and redevelopment of stations.

"Prime Minister Modi has a special emotional connection with railways, and he has entrusted me the responsibility to further his transformative vision to ensure that Indian Railways remains an affordable and convenient mode of transport for the general public," he said.

Singh thanked Prime Minister Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president and Union Health Minister JP Nadda and Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw after assuming office.

"Railway connects common people, it plays a huge role. Railways runs continuously 24X7. We shall work as a team to take it forward under the guidance of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Minister of Railways Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw ji," he said.

Vaishnaw became the railway minister for the first time in July 2021 under the second Narendra Modi government. This will be his second inning at the helm of the ministry.

"During his previous tenure, he initiated and executed numerous transformative projects aligning with the visionary agenda set forth by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi," a press statement from the railways said.

"These initiatives encompassed the modernisation and revitalisation of the railway infrastructure, including station transformations, the introduction of new trains, comprehensive station redevelopment programs, the commissioning of new rail lines, and widespread electrification efforts," it added.

In the new Narendra Modi government at the Centre, Singh has also been given the additional charge of minister of state for food processing industries.

Vaishnaw, a former IAS officer, is a member of the Rajya Sabha from Odisha. An IIT Kanpur alumnus, Vaishnaw has an MBA degree from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA. PTI JP IJT