In a new and novel move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday plugged ministries relating to Urban and housing affairs with petroleum keeping in mind the need to ensure the use of environment-friendly and energy-efficient petrol products in our cities and homes. Former Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has been given charge of both ministries.
The former diplomat is among the 43 leaders to be made part of the new Narendra Modi cabinet. Puri, who joined the BJP in January 2014, became Union minister for civil aviation and housing and urban affairs in the second term of the Narendra Modi government.
A 1974 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, he served as a joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs from 1994 to 1997, and then from 1999 to 2002. He was also a joint secretary in the ministry of defence from 1997 to 1999. Subsequently, he became secretary (economic relations) in ministry of external affairs from 2009 to 2013.
Puri served as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. He is considered one of the top diplomats of the country and was stationed at important posts in Brazil, Japan, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom during his tenure. He also served as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 and was the vice president of the International Peace Institute, New York.
Puri was born in Delhi and went to Hindu College of the Delhi University (DU), where he received his bachelors and masters degrees in history. He briefly took teaching as a lecturer at St. Stephen’s college in Delhi before joining the Indian Foreign Service. During the JP movement, he actively participated as a student leader.