Raj Kumar Singh, a bureaucrat-turned politician took charge as the Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy on Thursday. He was elevated as a cabinet minister from the rank of Minister of State.
Singh was rewarded for steering reforms in the power sector in the Modi government to make India a power surplus nation.
During his tenure, he managed the power grid and brought reforms in the distribution sector which had been debt-laden for years.
On this occasion, expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving him the responsibility, Singh said,"The Prime Minister has shown great confidence and we will live up to that."
In his brief interaction with media after assuming charge, Singh further said, "We have achieved targets of electrification set by the Prime Minister well before the schedule and will strive to ensure that the benefits of power and energy sector reach the common man."
Power demand in the country touched an all-time high of 197.06 GW on Tuesday. Besides, Singh worked in the area of clean energy to boost capacity addition of renewables like solar and wind.
During his tenure, the solar power tariff dropped to an to all-time low of Rs 1.99 per unit. Similarly, wind energy tariff also came down to below Rs 3 per unit in auctions for projects in India during his tenure.
Singh, who has been elected twice to Lok Sabha in 2014 and 2019 from Arrah in Bihar, had become Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power as well and New and Renewable Energy in September 2017. He held the two ministries till May 2019.
After his re-election to 17th Lok Sabha in May 2019, he retained the two portfolios. Besides, he got Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship as Minister of State.
Before becoming a minister, Singh was a member of many parliamentary committees.
Singh started off his career as an Indian Police Services (IPS) officer in 1974 and became an IAS officer in 1975. He was District Magistrate, East Champaran from 1981 to 1983 and also District Magistrate, Patna from 1983 to 1985. He also served as Director and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence between 1991 to 1996.
He was also Home Secretary, Government of Bihar, from 1997 to 1999. He held the post of Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (2000 to 2005).
He was Principal Secretary, Road Construction Department in Bihar government from 2006 to 2009. He was also the Union Secretary, Defence Production from 2009 to 2011. He also held the post of Union Home Secretary from 2011 to June 2013.
With PTI inputs