|Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during his maiden sortie in Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas (File Photo)|
Rajnath Singh, the physics lecturer-turned-politician and the current defence minister of India celebrates his 71st birthday today (July 10). Rajnath Singh is a prominent BJP leader and the first home minister of PM Narendra Modi’s Cabinet. He has served as the BJP’s national president and played a key role in the party’s spectacular victory in the 2014 general elections.
In his career, he served in various capacities and pioneered several reforms. He has continued his path of reforms in his recent role as the defence minister.
Here’s a look at his glorious journey:
Rajnath Singh was born into a family of farmers in the Bhabhuara village of Uttar Pradesh.
He did his master’s in physics from Gorakhpur University and then served as a lecturer of physics at K.B. Post-Graduate College Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.
His political career started as a student activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). He then went on to become the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president.
He was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council in 1988 and later became the Education Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1991.
In March 1997, he became the state president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP. He demonstrated exemplary leadership and expanded the party base and strengthened the organisation.
In November 1999, he became Union minister of surface transport in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. During this time, he initiated the NHDP (National Highway Development Programme).
In October 2000, he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Later, in 2003, he became the minister of agriculture in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet at the Centre.
In 2014 he became the Union Minister of home affairs in Narendra Modi’s government and in 2019 he was made the Defence Minister.
As defence minister, he has undertaken several reforms to revolutionise the forces. He has taken initiatives to increase women’s participation in various departments and field operations.
He also prompted the spirit of ‘Make in India’ and ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ by banning the import of 101 defence-related items in August 2020.
In May 2021, he announced that a set of 108 military weapons and systems including next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars will be entirely made in India.
The most recent reform under his leadership is the Agnipath scheme. The scheme aims to bring revolutionary changes in the enrolment process for soldiers. However, it has been met with protests and revolts across the country. Under the scheme, youngsters will be recruited directly from educational establishments or through recruiting rallies to the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy for a period of four years. After the completion of the service, only a quarter of the batch will be absorbed.