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Name: Ramesh, Jairam
Current Position: Minister of Rural Development

Jairam Ramesh ran the newly created Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation from its founding in July 2011 until October 28, 2011.  
Ramesh lost the portfolio in an October 28th cabinet reshuffle but retained Minister of Rural Development.
Born in Karnataka, Ramesh has recalled becoming interested in economics from a fairly early age, particularly its impact on the broader issues of everyday life. Although he eventually graduated from university, at IIT-Bombay, with a degree in chemical engineering, he quickly went oversees, to the US, to study economics and public policy.
Starting in the late 1970s, Ramesh took a series of consultancy and advisory jobs with the World Bank and the Indian government, particularly revolving around economic and energy policy. By the early 1990s, he was also a key actor in pushing through reforms that opened the country’s economy, reversing decades of domestic-focused Socialist policy championed by Jawaharlal Nehru.
Although a leading proponent of economic liberalization during the 1990s, Ramesh has recently become an increasingly outspoken proponent of progressive environmental stands. Today, he is seen as one of India’s foremost ‘technocrats’.
During his years as environment minister (2009-11), Ramesh was credited with significantly strengthening what was widely seen as an ailing ministry. Among his most notable decisions in that post included the refusal to allow Vedanta Resources, a large British firm, to mine bauxite in Orissa; and the refusal to allow Indian farmers to begin growing genetically modified eggplant.
Ramesh has continued in a similar vein – relatively progressive and contrarian – following his mid-2011 appointment to head the Ministry of Rural Development, choosing certain high-profile fights in opposing industry interests. In August 2012, for instance, Ramesh publicly suggested that mining be halted for a decade in regions experiencing the worst Maoist unrest – a longtime demand on the part of activists and community leaders, and a proposal made previously by Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo. Ramesh noted that much of India’s mining was being done without thought being given to concerns over the environment or social inclusion, thus creating resentment among certain sections of society.
In his current position, Ramesh has likewise called on the government of Bihar, for years lauded for its high development figures, to slow down certain high-profile schemes, warning that the Maoist movement could be exacerbated by centralized projects that fail to deliver for the poorest and most marginalized communities.
Official Bio

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