New Delhi: Piyush Goyal, the 54-year-old former union railway and coal minister, was sworn in on Thursday into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new council of ministers.
In the run-up to the 17th Lok Sabha elections, Goyal had said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would come back to power with over 300 seats and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would secure a two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha. While the BJP won 303 seats, the NDA stormed back to power with an even bigger mandate than in 2014. The coalition won as many as 353 seats out of the total 542 in the Lok Sabha, crossing its previous tally of 336.
A workaholic and the key crisis manager in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, Goyal has been at the forefront of major economic reforms.
Always quick with out-of-the-box ideas, Goyal presented his first budget on 1 February this year as the finance minister. In the Interim Budget 2019 presented by Goyal, he laid down a 10-dimensional vision for India’s future. Digital India, large-scale employment, energy security, electric vehicles were some of the highlights mentioned in the plan. He also said that India will become a trillion dollar economy in the next eight years.
Goyal has been credited with the government’s plan to provide 24X7 reliable electricity, the clean energy push, Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), to revive debt-ridden power distribution companies, to improving India’s energy access through the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY). Not surprisingly, Goyal was presented with the fourth Carnot prize in recognition of his work on village electrification during his tenure as power minister. The award was presented by the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.
Inducted as a minister of state with independent charge for power, coal, new and renewable energy and mines in the previous government, Goyal was promoted to the rank of the Cabinet minister given his body of work in the departments that he handled. Not surprisingly, with a background in accounts and law, he was given the mandate to bring order to the crisis-hit Indian Railways.
Goyal maintains a punishing schedule and is an all-India second rank holder chartered accountant and second rank holder in law from the Mumbai University. He served as the national treasurer for the BJP and led the party’s winning communications campaign in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. Armed with an elephantine memory, the Mumbai university graduate was an investment banker and also served on the boards of State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.
He has had a long association with the BJP with his father, the late Ved Prakash Goyal, being India’s shipping minister and the BJP’s national treasurer. His mother Chandrakanta Goyal has been a three-time member of the Maharashtra state legislative assembly.
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