Two former Indian Administrative Service officers have been included in the Union Cabinet in the expansion of the Council of Ministers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Ashwini Vaishnav and Ram Chandra Prasad were sworn in as cabinet ministers by President Ram Nath Kovind.
A total of 43 ministers were administered oaths on Wednesday, out of which 15 are cabinet ministers and 28 are ministers of state. BJP leader Vaishnav (50) was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and is a former IAS officer of the Odisha cadre. He was inducted into the Bharatiya Janata Party just six days before the Rajya Sabha elections to be held on 28 June 2019.
As an IAS officer, Vaishnav has held the charge of Magistrate and Collector in Balasore and Cuttack districts. His administrative ability came to the fore when at least 10,000 people died in the 1999 cyclone.
Vaishnav worked in Odisha till 2003 after which he was appointed as Deputy Secretary in the office of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Bureaucrat-turned-politician Ram Chandra Prasad Singh hails from the Nalanda district of Bihar.
He became a favorite of the then Samata Party leader and Railway Minister Nitish Kumar in the 1990s when he was sent on central deputation. Impressed by Singh's ability, Kumar made him his principal secretary after becoming the chief minister by bringing him from the Uttar Pradesh cadre.