India's former representative to UN is the country's new minister for civil aviation and two of Modi's pet projects
Hardeep Singh Puriwill be in charge of civil aviation and housing & urban affairs.
- Two career diplomats, S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, have found space in Narendra Modi's new cabinet.
- Puri was India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations between 2009 and 2013.
- Puri, a former member of the India's Foreign Service, joined the BJP in 2014.
Puri has been vested with two very important ministries - civil aviation, and housing & urban affairs. He is also the junior minister in commerce and industry, which is headed by Piyush Goyal.
The portfolio signals the amount of trust Modi has vested in Puri who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) only in 2014, and lost his debut in electoral politics from Amritsar this year.
Ailing exports has been unresolved issue for the Indian economy for a few years now. The country's civil aviation sector has fallen from grace, and the most recent crisis in Jet Airways has been a sign of the many woes that hound the sector. With the reduction in number of planes operating, airfares have spiked in recent months bringing the growth in passenger traffic to a grinding halt.
Aside from these two ministries, Puri will be spearheading two of Modi's pet projects- housing and smart cities. The government has promised 'housing for all' by 2022 and Puri will be responsible in picking up the programme's pace. The Urban Affairs department will be responsible for rolling out smart city projects, which have also been one of Modi govenrment's flagship programmes in the first term.
Puri, a former member of the India's Foreign Service, served as India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) between 2009 and 2013. He joined the BJP in 2014 and his wife Lakshmi Puri is the Assistant Secretary General at the UN.
In his time at the foreign service, Puri served in key countries like Brazil, Japan, Sri Lanka, and United Kingdom. He was also the coordinator for the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations.
However, his attempt to garner votes as a politician did not pay off. He lost the 2019 elections when he fought from Amritsar. In 2014, former finance minister Arun Jaitley fought from the constituency but he also lost. In both cases, the Modi wave did not help. Even as the party swept a majority of the seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian Parliament, the candidates from Amritsar failed.
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