Nitin Jairam Gadkari (/nitin ɡʌdkʌˈri/ (listen); born 27 May 1957) is an Indian politician from Maharashtra who is the current Minister for Road Transport & Highways in the Government of India. He is also the longest serving Minister for Road Transport & Highways currently running his tenure for over 8 years. Gadkari earlier served as the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from 2009 to 2013. He is also known for his work as the Public Works Department Minister of the State of Maharashtra, where, under his leadership, a series of roads, highways and flyovers across the state were constructed – including the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, India's first six-lane concrete, high-speed expressway. He currently represents the Nagpur constituency in the Lok Sabha, and is a lawyer by occupation. During the cabinet reshuffle on 7 July 2021 the portfolio for Ministry of MSME which was under him was reassigned to Narayan Rane, another BJP MP from Maharashtra as a part of cabinet expansion. In popular culture he is remembered as the "Highwayman of India" for the intensive road infrastructure improvements, per the World Economic Forum, planned and delivered in his tenure in India.
Nitin Gadkari was born into a Marathi family in Nagpur, India to Jairam Gadkari and Bhanutai Gadkari on 27 May 1957.During his adolescence, he worked for the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and the student union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. He completed M.Com. and L.L.B. from Nagpur University.
Nitin Gadkari served as the Minister of Public Works Department (PWD) of the Government of Maharashtra from 1995 to 1999 and restructured it from top to bottom. He has served as the president of the Maharashtra state unit of BJP.
Gadkari strongly supported privatisation while he campaigned for investments in infrastructure from private firms. He addressed several meetings between private investors, contractors, builders and various trade organisations and diverted large amounts of budgeted projects towards privatisation. Subsequently, the state government allocated ₹7 billion for rural connectivity. Over the next four years, all-weather road connectivity in Maharashtra was extended to 98% of the population. The project aimed to connect 13,736 remote villages which remained unconnected since independence by road. It also helped ameliorate malnutrition in remote Melghat-Dharni area of Amravati district, which previously had no access to medical aid, ration or educational facilities.
The Union Government appointed him as the Chairman of National Rural Road Development Committee. After a series of meetings and studies, Gadkari submitted his report to the central government and gave the presentation to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister of India. His new report was accepted and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, an ambitious rural road connecting scheme worth ₹600 billion, was launched. He received the Late Madhavrao Limaye Award by Public Library Nashik, for Most Efficient Member of Parliament for 2020-21.
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