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Name: Ravi, Vayalar
Current Position:


Vayalar Ravi is the current Union Cabinet Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs.


Born in 1937, the 75-year-old Ravi is a career politician from Alappuzha, Kerala. He has been active in state and national politics for over six decades. As a member of the Kerala Student Union in the 1950s, Ravi was a Congress Party activist. Ravi was educated in Kerala at S.D. College in Alappuzha, and at Maharajas College and Law College in Ernakulam.  


Ravi became President of the Congress’s Kerala youth wing in 1965. He was later elected to Congress’s Kerala wing and the powerful All India Congress Committee.  In 1972, he became a member of the Congress Working Committee and was elected to India’s Lok Sabha in 1971 and 1977.


When Indira Gandhi’s declared the Emergency at the national level, Ravi retreated to Kerala politics. He served as Home Minister of his state from 1982 to 1986 before falling out with the Chief Minister. In 1987, Ravi was elected to the Kerala Assembly. In 1992, Ravi was elected President of the Kerala wing of the All India Congress Committee.  


In the 1990s, Ravi again moved into national politics. In 1996, he was elected to India’s upper house, the Rajya Sabha, and later re-elected. In 2001, Ravi reached the powerful post of general secretary of the All India Congress Committee.  


As a senior Congress Party official, Ravi has held a number of ministerial posts in the two UPA governments that have held power since 2004. Most notably, from January 29, 2006 onwards, Ravi has served as Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, the government’s portfolio for addressing issues that affect Non-Resident Indians. In addition, at various times, Ravi has also held portfolios for: Parliamentary Affairs; Civil Aviation; Science and Technology; Earth Sciences; and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. In early 2013, Ravi endured a scandal over sexist remarks he made to a female journalist that were caught on camera. He is also fond of making remarks that seem a bit conspiratorial. During the summer of 2012, for example, Ravi blamed downgrades of Indian bonds by the Standard & Poor and Fitch rating agencies on a conspiracy by three unnamed Non-Resident Indians. 


Both of Ravi’s parents were involved in politics, with his mother engaging in Congress Party organizing activities. His wife, Mercy, is a member of the Kerala Assembly. They have three children.


Official Biography  

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