|Shri. Kapil Sibal
Hon’ble Minister of HRD and Communications & Information Technology
Govt. of India
One of the most successful ministers in the UPA government, Shri Kapil Sibal belongs to an illustrious legal family from Punjab.
Currently the Honorable Union Cabinet Minister for HRD, Communications and Information Technology, Shri Kapil Sibal is a graduate of the Harvard Law School., He joined the Bar in 1972 and was designated a Senior Advocate in 1983. He was the Additional Solicitor General of India between 1989 and 1990, and was thrice elected as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (1995-1996, 1997-1998 and 2001-2002). Known for his expertise in Constitutional Law, Shri Kapil Sibal has the rare distinction of being the only lawyer to have had the privilege of addressing Parliament in 1993, in the historic impeachment proceedings of a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice V. Ramaswami.
He was the Co-Chairman of the Indo-US Parliamentary Forum and Member of the Board of International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (New York) in 2002. He was also nominated as a Member of the Programme Board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India AIDS Initiative in the year 2001.
As the Minister of Science & Technology (2004-2009), Shri Sibal gave a new direction to the efforts of the scientific community and developed several policies for inculcating a scientific temper amongst youth and attracting talent to research in sciences. A pro-active Minister, he led from the front and was the first ever Member of Parliament to have visited the icy continent of Antarctica in February 2005, experiencing sub-zero temperatures to ascertain the hardships faced by scientists at India’s base at Maitri. He also led the Indian delegation to the United Nation Framework convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Bali in December 2007, personally piloting several of the complex negotiations on vital issues of climate change. He was also responsible for setting up an Indian Research Station in the Arctic in July, 2008.
In May, 2009, he was appointed as Minister of Human Resource Development. In that capacity, he has initiated several path breaking reforms in education. The historic guarantee of the right to free and compulsory elementary education to every child became a reality under his stewardship. His vision is to universalize access to quality secondary education by the year 2020. Higher education has seen a significant overhaul in its governance and regulatory structures. Seven different legislations that articulate the government’s vision, enabling India to emerge as a knowledge provider to the world economy, have been drafted. These legislations are all directed towards the goal of making quality higher education accessible to all, irrespective of their financial capacity. Equality and inclusion have been at the heart of these efforts as it is his belief that education and acquisition of skills will be instrumental in alleviating poverty and want.
Since November 2010, he has been entrusted with additional charge of Ministry of Communications & Information Technology. He unveiled a triad of policies for Information Technology, Telecom and Electronics to realize his vision of transforming mobile from a mere communication device to an instrument of empowerment of the poorest and the remotest Indian. He launched Aakash - world’s most affordable tablet PC in the latter half of 2011 and envisions providing its modified version – Aakash II to each child by 2012. He is deeply involved in laying the communication infrastructure in the country to allow digital content to flow seamlessly reaching millions through projects like National Optical Fibre Network, National Knowledge Network and Electronic Services Delivery Bill. He firmly believes that corruption can be dealt by providing government services at the doorsteps of the common man thereby eliminating middlemen.
He was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award for the year 2004-05 by the Indian Science Congress Association. He was conferred the Degree of Doctorate in Literature (Honoris Causa) at the 55th Annual Convocation of Punjab University held in February 2006. He represented India in the Annual Meetings of the World Economic Forum in 2005 and 2009 held at Davos, Switzerland. He led the Indian delegation to Annapolis Conference, USA to gather International support for establishment of a Palestinian State and the realization of Israeli – Palestinian Peace during November 2007. He also led the Indian delegation to the United Nation Framework convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Bali in December 2007. He was honored with the prestigious Stephen P. Duggan Award for Mutual Understanding by New York based Institute of International Education (IIE) in September, 2010. He was conferred the ET Business Reformer of the Year Award in New Delhi, in October 2010. He co-chaired the India US Higher Education Summit held in Washington, USA on October 13, 2011 along with the U.S Secretary of State Ms Hillary Clinton. He addressed the 36th UNESCO General Conference in Paris on October 28, 2011. He was conferred with Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer National Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Law, Education and Human Development.
Besides being a lawyer and a politician, Shri Sibal is also an accomplished poet. Despite his arduous schedule, he uses his time while traveling aboard long flights to write poetry on his cellphone. His two remarkable collections of poetry - “I Witness”, (August 2008) and “My World Within” (January 2012) reflect a variety of issues like politics, globalization, terrorism, technology etc.
Shri Sibal is not only known for his versatility but also for his ability to multi-task. However, his human qualities override all his other achievements. His generosity, empathy, desire to serve people and above all willingness to fight injustice make him part of a rare breed of politicians since independent India.
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