|Minister of Railways|
13 July 2011 – 18 March 2012
|Prime Minister||Manmohan Singh|
|Preceded by||Mamata Banerjee|
|Succeeded by||Mukul Roy|
|Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare|
22 May 2010
|Succeeded by||Sudip Bandyopadhyay|
|Member of Parliament|
4 June 1950 |
New Delhi, Delhi, India
|Political party||Trinamool Congress|
|Alma mater||St. Xavier's College, Calcutta
University of Texas, Austin
Dinesh Trivedi, born 4 June 1950, is an Indian politician from the All India Trinamool Congress party, a current Member of Parliament in the Lower House representing Barrackpore, West Bengal. He is the former Union Minister for Railways and the former Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare. He is also the Chairman of the Indo-European Union Parliamentary Forum (IEUPF), and other Parliamentary Forums.
Trivedi is the youngest child of the Gujarati couple, Hiralal and Urmila, who migrated to India from Karachi during India's partition, where all his other siblings were born. His parents lived in a number of places before coming to New Delhi, where he was born. His father then started working for the Hindustan Construction Company in Kolkata. Trivedi attended boarding schools in Himachal Pradesh, before graduating in commerce from St. Xavier's College, Calcutta. He then took a loan of Rs.20,000 and completed his MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. He also trained to be a pilot, a result of his childhood dream of flying for the Indian Air Force. He is a trained sitar player and enjoys classical music. He also applied to train as an actor at the Film Institute, Pune, but didn't follow it up as he then believed it not to be a serious job, as reported by Rediff.com. He was also drawn towards a picture of Swami Vivekananda in an advertisement by the Ramkrishna Mission, and decided to be a monk, but did not do so due to strong advice by his family and a Swami in Chicago. He dons rings with sapphire, emerald and coral on his right hand to ward off the ill-effects of the mangal griha (planet Mars).
After his MBA in 1974, he worked in Chicago for two years for the Detex Company, before returning to India, where he worked for a logistics provider Lee and Muirhead. In 1984, he quit the job to start his own air freight company based in Kolkata. He also started a consumer protection centre.
Trivedi has filed many petitions. He says, "I was so fed up of corruption then. I thought I can't progress here. But, my father told me to learn to fight corruption, make your way." Trivedi shot into prominence when he asked the Supreme Court to make the Vohra report on the criminalization of politics in India public. This petition gave a push to the Right to Information movement.
Career as a politician
Trivedi joined the Congress party in the 1980s, but switched over to the Janata Dal in 1990. Later, in 1998 he joined Mamata Banerjee when she started the Trinamool Congress party and became its first general secretary.
He was a member of the Upper House in the Indian Parliament from 1990 to 2008. In the 2009 elections he contested for the Trinamool Congress party and won from Barrackpore to join the lower house in the Parliament. He joined the cabinet as the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare in 2009. In 2011, he offered to resign as a minister in support of Anna Hazare. In 2011, after Mamata Banerjee quit as the railway minister to become the Chief Minister of West Bengal, he was elevated as the Cabinet Minister for Railways.
As the Railway minister, he has advocated instituting a rail regulator to fix rail fares, a policy that is diametrically opposite to the one by earlier railway ministers. He has also advocated de-politicizing the Railways and would like to restructure the Indian Railway Board, which lacked synergy before he joined. Trivedi believes that the Indian Railways can add 2% to India's GDP and is willing to go against his party's line of not hiking the fares. However, he believes the government must modernize the railways, for which a fare hike would not be able to generate adequate funds, and has publicly criticized the Prime Minister for not providing funds.. Trivedi is pushing for a national policy on railways, that would continue irrespective of political changes in the government. He has also said that the ministry is also open to the idea of privatization, which would allow more funds to be allocated to help the system cope with capacity. He stepped down as the Railway Minister on 18 March 2012, a couple of days after presenting his first ever Railway Budget in which he increased passenger fare. This did not go down well with his political party, Trinamool Congress and in particular its head West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee.
In 2011, the script of the James Bond film Skyfall, part of which was shot on trains in India, had to be changed when Trivedi insisted that people not be shown traveling on the roofs of trains, which is illegal.
In August 2011, Mamata Banerjee's ministerial room in the Parliament, which has traditionally been allotted to the railway minister, was allotted to another minister as she was his senior colleague in the cabinet. However, before the formal orders could be issued, Trivedi involved the Prime Minister and Mamata Banerjee to get the room allotted to himself to avoid “utter humiliation of the Railway Ministry and 14 lakh Railway employees”. According to the The Tribune, his party also reminded the Prime Minister that the UPA owed this to its biggest ally, the AITC.
Railway budget controversy
On 14 March 2012, Trivedi announced the annual rail budget 2012 that included an all over hike in passenger fares, ranging from 2 paise to 30 paise per kilometre for reasons of safety along with network expansion and modernisation. The fare hike was opposed by his own party's leader, Mamata Banerjee. Senior TMC MPs Sudeep Bandyopadhyay and Derek O'Brien both expressed their disagreement. However, the budget received support from the general public, industry groups and all five Rail Unions. TMC chairperson and Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee declared that she will not allow any hike in railway fares proposed in the Railway Budget. Banerjee denied being consulted by Railway Minister on the issue of fare hike. On the same day, Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to dismiss Dinesh Trivedi as Minister of Railways and give the portfolio to another AITMC member of parliament Mukul Roy.
Initially, Trivedi requested a written confirmation from Mamata Banerjee before resigning, as he had received conflicting reports on the same from the Leader of the Trinamool Congress parliamentary party - Sudeep Bandyopadhyay and the chief whip of Trinamool Congress in Lok Sabha - Kalyan Banerjee. Finally, on 18 March 2012, Trivedi resigned after making a direct phone call to Mamata Banerjee for confirmation of the party position. Later, Trivedi explicitly clarified that he had resigned because Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee asked him to resign, but that he had received "communication" that neither PM nor Congress would request for his resignation, with the result that "..if I had not resigned on that particular evening (last Sunday), I could have brought uncertainty to government itself and that is not my job". On forwarding the resignation to the President with recommendation of acceptance, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh praised the budget presented by Trivedi and expressed "regret" on his "departure".
|Member of Parliament (1990–2008)||Rajya Sabha|
|Chairman||Passengers Amenities Committee, Ministry of Railways|
|Member||Committee on Rules|
|Member||Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Civil Aviation|
|Member||Civil Aviation Committee|
|Member||Committee on Finance|
|Member||Committee on Commerce|
|Member||Committee on Petitions|
|Member||Committee on Public Undertakings Member, General Purposes Committee|
|Co-Convener||Sub-Committee for Special Economic Zones of the Committee on Commerce|
|Chairman||Indo EU Parliamentarians forum|
|Member||Indo American Forum of Parliamentarians|
|Member||Indo British Forum of Parliamentarians|
|Member||Indo France Forum of Parliamentarians|
|Member||Indo German Forum of Parliamentarians|
|Member||Indo UK Forum of Parliamentarians|
|Member||Indo Japan Forum of Parliamentarians|
|Member||Aspan Dialogue Think Tank, USA|
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- "Trivedi resigns, Mukul Roy to be new railway minister". The Times of India. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "Dinesh Trivedi says PM would have retained him even at cost of TMC". EconomicTimes. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- "PM’s candid talk is unprecedented". DeccanChronicle. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
- "PM accepts Trivedi's resignation, hails Rly budget". IANSLive. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.