Arjun Ram Meghwal, an IAS-turned politician and BJP’s Member of Parliament from Bikaner in Rajasthan, was on Tuesday appointed as the minister of state for finance and corporate affairs in Narendra Modi government at the Centre. Earlier, former Bihar cadre IAS Yashwant Sinha and former Karnataka cadre IAS JD Seelam served as union finance minister and MoS, finance respectively under different governments. But the story of Meghwal is really inspirational: Born to a family of weavers from Kismidesar village in Bikaner, Meghwal continued his studies while helping his father in weaving. He did his…graduation, post-graduation and LLB. He first got into Indian post and telegraph department as a telephone operator, and then was selected for the Rajasthan State Administrative Service through a competitive examination. Later, he was promoted to IAS and he became the district collector of Churu in Rajasthan.
In 2009, he contested from Bikaner Lok Sabha constituency on a BJP ticket and won. He then got re-elected from the same constituency in 2014. Politically, Meghwal was noticed by the central leadership after he relentlessly highlighted the alleged illegal land deals of Congress party president’s son-in-law Robert Vadra in Bikaner. The case is now being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), an agency that comes under the ministry of finance. Also, that Meghwal is a Dalit Member of Parliament may have also helped him getting a ministerial berth, as the BJP has been trying to shed its anti-Dalit image, a perception being created after Dalit student from Hyderabad Rohith Vemula’s death. Ahead of 2017 poll in Uttar Pradesh, the party may try to regain its Dalit constituency, and Meghwal is likely to play a role in it.
Sixty two years old Meghwal got married to Pana Devi at the age of just fourteen and half. He has two sons and two daughters. “Visiting religious and spiritual places” is his pastime, according to his biodata uploaded in the Lok Sabha site.
He loves to play badminton.
Significantly, it’s not the first time that a former IAS officer has become a minister of finance. Yaswant Sinha, for example, was an IAS-turned finance minister of the country both under Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Then, at the fag end of the UPA-II government, another IAS-turned politician JD Seelam was appointed as MoS in the finance ministry. Seelam, originally hailing from Andhra Pradesh, is a 1984 batch IAS of Karnataka cadre.