As Cabinet-ranking Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Petroleum & Natural Gas, diplomat politician Hardeep Singh Puri is at the helm of departments and ministries that play a vital role in influencing India’s growth story.
A diplomat and former Union civil aviation minister, Puri – the guest at Express Adda on Friday – was one of four ministers tasked with coordinating the government’s massive efforts to evacuate Indian students stranded in Ukraine after Russia had attacked the former on February 24.
In his role as the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Puri is charged with the task of increasing domestic production of crude oil and natural gas, in addition to generating a gas-based economy that involves a renewed focus on improving availability and utilization. of the cleaner fossil fuel.
With the recent cut in excise duties on petrol and diesel and the government’s stepping in to ensure that sanctioned Russia’s deeply discounted crude oil is added to its overall supply basket, the minister has his job to ensure that the impact of rapidly growing global fuel prices is as temporary as possible, given the rising inflation trend.
Inflation based on the retail or consumer price index has remained above the Reserve Bank of India’s 6% cap for five months in a row, prompting the central bank to raise key rates and destroy the weak demand the economy has seen when India came out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Puri has an overarching mandate over urban infrastructure development, at a time when the infrastructure of most Indian cities is under enormous strain, including water supply, sanitation, the all-purpose housing, and also the task of harnessing the use of data, technology and innovation in the planning and management of cities.
Puri, an Indian Foreign Service officer from 1974, also served as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations between 2009 and 2013, before joining the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2014.
As part of its urban re-engineering mandate, Puri is in charge of the Narendra Modi government’s key flagship projects such as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U), Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, among others . His ministry also oversees the ambitious Central Vista Redevelopment Project that aims to reform India’s seat of power on Raisina Hill.
On the Express Adda, Puri will talk with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, and P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Executive Editor, The Indian Express.
The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organized by The Indian Express Group and is at the center of change. As discussions went online amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Union Minister of Foreign Affairs S Jaishankar, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal, AIIMS- director dr. Randeep Guleria and former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian were among the guests at e-Adda.
Prominent guests at previous editions of the Express Adda have included the Union’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Nobel laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, and cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara.