Cabinet Reshuffle: Nirmala New Defence Min, Piyush Gets Railways
Two former bureaucrats, a former diplomat and a former police commissioner will now be part of Modi’s Cabinet.
Sunday’s Cabinet reshuffle in the Modi government saw Nirmala Sitharaman taking over the defence ministry and Piyush Goyal assuming charge of the railways ministry. Dharmendra Pradhan was given the additional charge of skills development, while Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was named the minority affairs minister.
Nine new ministers were also inducted in the Cabinet including Raj Kumar Singh, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Virendra Kumar, Anant Kumar Hegde, Hardeep Singh Puri, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Satya Pal Singh and Alphons Kannanthanam.
The much-anticipated Cabinet rejig is touted to be the final major churn before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The reshuffle was scheduled to be held after President Ram Nath Kovind returned from his trip to Tirupati and ahead of PM Modi’s departure to China, where he will attend the ninth BRICS summit.
Ex-Babus, Military Men Make up for 10% of Modi Ministry
From a former home secretary to a top retired diplomat, a former Mumbai police commissioner to a retired Army chief, nearly 10 percent of Narendra Modi's council of ministers is made up of former bureaucrats or ex-servicemen.
With the induction of Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Satyapal Singh and Alphons – the number of former bureaucrats and ex-servicemen in the Modi government has risen to seven.
The reliance on bureaucrats in his ministry, prompted the Congress to take a dig at the PM, saying it showed he did not trust his political colleagues.
Incidentally, all seven are ministers of state.
The other three ministers from bureaucratic or military background are former Army chief Gen (retd) VK Singh, Col (retd) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Arjun Ram Meghwal, a former IAS officer from Rajasthan.
It Seems Amit Shah Is the PM: Congress
The Congress took a dig at the induction of four former bureaucrats in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, saying it showed he did not trust his political colleagues.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari also described the nine new ministers as a “senior citizens’ club”, pointing out that while the median age of a person in the country was 27 years, the average age of the new entrants was 60.44 years.
Talking to the media, Tewari claimed Modi was “strangely disconnected” from the Cabinet reshuffle exercise.
“It seems that (BJP president) Amit Shah is the prime minister,” he said, referring to reports that claimed Shah summoned ministers and asked them to resign before the rejig.
He also termed the expansion “maximum government and minimum governance”.
Sitharaman Is Hard Working, Knowledgeable: Parrikar
Former defence minister and Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar called Nirmala Sitharaman’s appointment a “very excellent and a well thought out decision”.
Nirmala is very analytical, hard working and very knowledgeable.
Rajyavardhan Rathore Appointed Sports Min
Olympic silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has been appointed the new sports minister in place of Vijay Goel, who has been made the minister of state for parliamentary affairs.
The 47-year-old Rathore was till now serving as minister of state for information and broadcast.
My gratitude to the Prime Minister for reposing faith in me and giving me a very important ministry.Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
Outgoing Sports Minister Vijay Goel asserted that he had a successful stint in office and categorically stated that the government alone cannot build a sports culture in the country.
“If the Prime Minister wants me to give me other responsibility, I have to accept it. If I had not performed, the PM would have dropped me in this reshuffle. But I had a successful stint, so I have been given more responsibilities,” Goel told PTI.
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