Modi 2.0: Massive Rejig Sees 43 New Ministers, Heavyweights Dropped and Talent Promoted

Mansukh Mandaviya (file image)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle exploded over the political firmament on Wednesday with big-ticket resignations preceding what can only be described as a comprehensive overhaul of the Union Council of Ministers.

Less than halfway into his second term, Modi inducted all of 43 new ministers, 15 of them with Cabinet rank, the exercise culminating in a broad-based representation of the nation that also managed to balance caste aspirations and bring down the average age of the team and add significant educational and professional qualifications to it even as the makeover seemed to satisfy all components of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition.

The second wave of Covid cast its shadow on the reshuffle before it was announced, with Harsh Vardhan tendering his resignation earlier in the day along with other heavyweights Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar. Rajya Sabha MP Mansukh Mandaviya has been upgraded from junior minister to be the new health minister, and he has his task cut out in the face of an impending third wave and India’s ongoing mega-vaccination programme. It is a measure of the trust reposed in this post-graduate in political science that the prime minister has entrusted him with the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers as well.

Home Minister Amit Shah has been given charge of the new ministry of cooperation. The other two big portfolios, finance and defence, remain with Nirmala Sitharaman and Rajnath Singh; Narendra Singh Tomar will continue as agriculture minister.

Rajya Sabha MP and global whiz kid Ashwini Vaishnaw, a 1994-batch IAS officer and MBA from the Wharton School as well as an M.Tech from IIT Kanpur, has got charge of railways, communications and IT even as Piyush Goyal moves to commerce and industry and textiles.

Congress import Jyotiraditya Scindia got charge of the high-profile civil aviation ministry, even as Smriti Irani was put in special charge of the Swachh Bharat Mission besides the ministry of women and child development, a portfolio she continues to hold.
Hardeep Singh Puri is now a Cabinet minister with the petroleum and urban affairs under his growing wings. After Ravi Shankar Prasad’s exit, Kiren Rijiju is now the law minister.

Pashu Pati Kumar Paras, in the eye of the still-not-over Lok Janashakti Party split crisis, has been made minister for food processing. The Paras success came on a day that his nephew Chirag Paswan moved the Delhi High Court against the Lok Speaker’s decision to recognise his estranged uncle as the party leader in the House.

Former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has been put in charge of ports, shipping and waterways as well as the AYUSH ministry. Here is the full list of the Prime Minister Modi’s team of ministers:

Soon after the swearing-in ceremony of the new ministers, Prime Minister congratulated all those inducted into the executive and said the government will continue working to fulfill the aspirations of the people and build a strong and prosperous India.

“I congratulate all the colleagues who have taken an oath today and wish them the very best for their ministerial tenure. We will continue working to fulfill the aspirations of the people and build a strong and prosperous India,” the Prime Minister posted on Twitter. He also shared a photo of the revamped Cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony, which took place at Rashtrapati Bhavan amid COVID-19 protocols, came days ahead of the monsoon session of parliament.

Seven women MPs took oath as union ministers in the expanded council of ministers. They include Anupriya Patel, Shobha Karandlaje, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Meenakshi Lekhi, Annapurna Devi, Pratima Bhoumik and Bharati Pravin Pawar.

Seven Ministers of State (MoS) were promoted to Cabinet rank: G Kishan Reddy, Kiren Rijiju, Anurag Singh Thakur, Hardeep Singh Puri, Raj Kumar Singh, Parshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya.

Apart from Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar who resigned in the run-up to the much-awaited reshuffle, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar and Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Babul Supriyo also stepped down. The list of the dropped also includes:
> Raosaheb Patil Danve / MoS for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
> Pratap Sarangi / MoS for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries & MSME
> DV Sadananda Gowda / Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers.
> Debashree Chaudhuri / MoS for Woman and Child Development
> Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre / MoS for Human Resources Development
> Rattan Lal Kataria / MoS for Jal Shakti and Social Justice & Empowerment

(With ANI inputs)

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