Raj Shah could be first Indian-American Cabinet minister

Last Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 11:15

Washington: USAID`s Indian-American head Raj Shah, who has established himself as one of the most successful administrators of the agency, is being seen as a strong contender for a Cabinet position as President Barack Obama prepares for his second term and forms a new team.

Given his strong credentials as a successful USAID administrator and his unflinching loyalty to Obama, administrative and political sources told a news agency that Raj could well be poised for one of the Cabinet positions in particular that of Secretary of Health and Human Services; Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of Education.

Further Shah, 39, would not face any difficulties in any Senate confirmation given his strong credentials and support across both sides of the aisle.

Shah, who in the last three ands half years has established himself as one of the most successful administrators of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) -- the agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world.

The White House for now has refused to entertain any question on new appointment or possibility of it.

"I have no personnel announcements to make of any kind," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Friday when he was asked several times on various new Cabinet appointments including that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Before being appointed as USAID head - the highest ranking Indian American in any presidential administration - in January 2010, Shah worked in a range of leadership riles at the Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation.

He was also the health care policy advisor on the Al Gore presidential campaign in 2000.

Obama had in fact first appointed him as the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist on April 17, 2009.

His nomination was confirmed by unanimous consent in May 2009.

Shah, who was born to Hindu parents who settled in Michigan, has received global acclaim for the work done by USAID in several natural calamities since then including Haiti earthquake and flood in Pakistan both in 2010.

At a time when the US Government is facing budgetary strain in view of a severe economic crisis, USIAD under his leadership has come up with innovative ideas and mechanism to increase America?s aid effectiveness.

Under his leadership, USAID has partnered with India for joint poverty alleviation programs in third world countries Africa in particular.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 11:14

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