Ashwini Vaishnaw, ex-IITian and MBA graduate from Wharton, takes charge as IT, Railway Minister


New Delhi: Ashwini Vaishnaw, the bureaucrat-entrepreneur-turned-politician, took charge as the country’s new Information Technology and Railways Minister on Thursday, a day after the Union Cabinet expansion.

 

 

“Excellent work has been done in the Railways over the past 67 years. I am here to take the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi forward,” Vaishnaw said while he took the charge. 

 

 

A former IAS officer of the 1994-batch, Ashwini 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, something that will help him in the rail sector.

The former bureaucrat has also held leadership roles across major global companies such as General Electric and Siemens. Vaishnaw has done his MBA from the Wharton School, Pennsylvania University, and M Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur.

The 50-year-old will try to step into the shoes of his predecessor Ravi Shankar Prasad, one of the government’s loudest defenders, who was locked in a bitter dispute with foreign social media companies over a new law.

Prasad has been in news over the new digital law that required social media firms to remove and identify the “first originator” of posts deemed to undermine India’s sovereignty, state security or public order.

Social media companies and privacy activists fear the vagueness of the rules means they could be forced to identify the authors of posts critical of the government.

But the war of words has been sharpest with Twitter, with the microblogging site failing to appoint a permanent compliance officer based in India. Prasad has several times publicly slammed Twitter for not following the new rules, and undermining Indian laws.

His ministry recently told a court that the social media platform does not enjoy an intermediatory status in India, making the company criminally liable for content posted on the platform.

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