Early years and education
Vaishnaw was born to a Bairagi family in Jodhpur in 1970. He graduated from MBM Engineering College (JNVU) Jodhpur, Rajasthan in 1991 with a gold medal in an electronic and communications engineering course and then completed his M.Tech from IIT Kanpur, before cracking IAS in 1994 with an all-India rank of 27. In 2008, Vaishnaw left for the US to do his MBA from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Years in civil services
Vaishnaw served as a collector in Balasore and Cuttack districts. He worked in Odisha till 2003 when he was appointed as deputy secretary in the office of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After his brief stint in the PMO where he contributed to creating the public-private-partnership framework in infrastructure projects, Vaishnav was appointed as Vajpayee’s private secretary after the BJP-led NDA lost the election in 2004.
In 2006, he became deputy chairman of Mormugao Port Trust, where he worked for next two years.
He took educational loan to complete his MBA at the Wharton Business School. He realized that it will take him years to payback educational loan and eventually he left civil service in 2010 to join private sector.
On completing MBA, Vaishnaw came back to India and joined GE Transportation as Managing Director. Then he joined Siemens as the Vice President – Locomotives & Head Urban Infrastructure Strategy.
In 2012, he quit the corporate sector and set up Three Tee Auto Logistics Private Limited and Vee Gee Auto Components Private Limited, both automotive components manufacturing units in Gujarat.
Vaishnaw is currently a Member of Indian Parliament, representing Odisha state in the Rajya Sabha. He won the Rajya Sabha election unopposed with the help of Biju Janata Dal members in Odisha. Vaishnaw was appointed as member of Committee on Subordinate Legislation and Petitions and Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests.
Vaishnav has argued in Parliament that the current economic slowdown is cyclical in nature and is not a structural slowdown and that it is likely to bottom out by March and would be followed by solid growth. Vaishnav firmly believes that the way to build the country is to put the money in investment rather than putting money in consumption.
Vaishnav has also supported the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on 5 December 2019 in Rajya Sabha. He believes the step of reducing or rather rationalizing the tax structure will increase the competitiveness of the Indian industry and will also develop the capital base of the Indian industry. While supporting the furthered argued that the particular rationalization of tax structure will help the corporates to de-leverage and increase the retained earnings and reserves and surplus which will lay the foundation of the structural growth of the economy.
Apart from these, he has also spoken on issues ranging from Ship Recycling Bill to Women Protection in Rajya Sabha to further the public discourse on those issues.
In July 2021, in the 22nd cabinet reshuffle, he was given the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Ministry of Communications.