Pawan Kumar Bansal completed his schooling from Yadavindra Public School in Patiala. He then enrolled at the Government College in Chandigarh and obtained his graduate degree in Science from there. After which, he joined Department of Law in Chandigarh and obtained his LLB degree from there.
He made his foray into politics at a young age and in1976, he was made the GS (General Secretary) of Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress a position which he held till 1978. After which he held several prestigious posts for the Congress Party and was sent to Rajya Sabha in 1984. He completed his full term of Rajya Sabha in 1990 and in 1991 general elections was handed Lok Sabha ticket from Chandigarh constituency. He defended his constituency in 1999, 2004 and 2009 general elections as well.
During his term as an MP, he took great interests in electoral reforms, environment, and education. He was Indian Parliamentary delegation to various international assemblies held in various countries. He organized numerous cultural and social activities like N.S.S. camps, Inter-State Youth camps, Medical aid camps in rural villages and blood donation camps among many others.
He held prestigious portfolios such as Minister of State, Minister of Parliament Affairs, Cabinet Minister of Water Resources, and Cabinet Minister of Railways among others. During his tenure as Railway Minister, his nephew was caught in a bribery scandal and after which, he had to resign from his post.