Cabinet reshuffle adds techno-managerial heft to Modi govt

New Delhi: The massive Union Cabinet reshuffle in India this week bears the techno-managerial imprint of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In his first term, Modi persisted with around 58 ministers in the Council of Ministers when the slogan was “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”.

More or less, this number has persevered although now with 43 new members, the Council of Ministers now stands at 77, the highest in this government’s tenure.

In the new Council of Ministers, there are four former Chief Ministers in the Cabinet, 18 former state ministers, 39 former MLAs and 23 MPs who have been elected for three or more terms.

A day after the reboot of the union cabinet, a number of newly appointed ministers took charge of their assignments, including Mansukh Mandaviya – the new Health Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw – the new Railways and IT Minister, RK Singh – the new Power Minister, and Anurag Thakur – the new Information and Broadcasting Minister and Kiren Rijiju, the new Law Minister.

Mandaviya – who will also head the Chemicals and Fertilizers ministry – takes charge at a critical time in the government’s fight against COVID-19.

Vaishnaw took charge as the new IT minister today, replacing Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was lately locked in a bitter row with Twitter over the new IT rules. Vaishnaw’s deputy in the IT Ministry – Rajeev Chandrasekhar – also took charge.

The new Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also took charge as Ravi Shankar Prasad’s replacement.

Anurag Thakur and Meenakshi Lekhi could also be seen at their new offices.

Thakur, who was formerly the junior Finance Minister, took charge at the I&B Ministry, which was previously led by Prakash Javadekar.

Lekhi, a Lok Sabha MP from Delhi, also took charge of her new assignment. She will be the junior minister in the External Affairs and Culture ministries.

Other cabinet ministers who took charge today included Parshottam Rupala (Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairy) and Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (Steel).

Dharmendra Pradhan, who was previously the Petroleum Minister, took charge as the Education, and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister. Ex-Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who replaced him as the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, also assumed his new office. 

Bhupender Yadav took charge as the Labour Minister with Rameswar Teli his junior. John Barla took charge as the junior Minority Affairs Minister and Jitendra Singh as the Science Minister.

One of the BJP’s high-profile acquisitions from the Congress, Jyotiraditya Scindia, has been given charge of Civil Aviation at a time when the sector is struggling under the impact of COVID-19. The ministry was once handled by his father Madhavrao Scindia, who died in a plane crash in 2001.

Hardeep Singh Puri, who was previously the Civil Aviation Minister, is now the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Housing and Urban Affairs.

Sarbananda Sonowal, who stepped aside as Assam Chief Minister so Himanta Biswa Sarma could be appointed, has been given Ports, Shipping and Waterways. He will also handle Ayush Ministry.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been given the newly-created Ministry of Cooperation.


No Muslim face in Modi cabinet revamp, Naqvi lone face

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi cabinet reshuffle did not see any Muslim being inducted, despite a few aspirants in the fray, and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi remains the community’s lone representative in the Union Cabinet.

BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Zafar Islam was one of the aspirants but could not find a place while after the resignation of M.J. Akbar, there was speculation that one person from the community could be inducted.

Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal said: “There should be no expectation from the BJP as the second largest minority is not on their agenda.”

Community leaders are of the same view.

Majlis-e-Mushawarat President Navaid Hamid said: “Muslims don’t expect anything from the BJP except they follow the constitutional mandate… the more they ignore, the more they discriminate, the more they are exposed about their prejudice and vicious agenda against most persecuted, the most marginalised, and the most discriminated community in the country”.

Mansukh Laxman Mandaviya takes over from Harsh Vardhan as Health Minister.

Ashwini Vaishnaw is the new IT Minister replacing Ravi Shankar Prasad

Images courtesy of (PIB) and (Photos Wikipedia)

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