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Cabinet Reshuffle: Nirmala Sitharaman to Defence, Piyush Goyal Railways and Suresh Prabhu, Commerce

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose with some new members of cabinet after the reshuffle at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday. Credit: PTI/ Kamal Kishore

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose with some new members of cabinet after the reshuffle at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday. Credit: PTI/ Kamal Kishore

New Delhi: In his third reshuffle or expansion of the Union cabinet since taking office in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday promoted Nirmala Sitharaman to defence minister – a major leg-up for the former minister of state (independent charge) for commerce – while handing over the cabinet berth for the railways ministry to Piyush Goyal, who earlier held independent charge of power as minister of state.

Suresh Prabhu, who as rail minister sought to resign following the recent spate of train accidents, has been moved to the equally weighty commerce and industry portfolio, a sign that he continues to enjoy the full confidence of the prime minister.

Two other ministers of state were elevated to cabinet rank – Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (minority affairs) and Dharmendra Pradhan, who has been given charge of the under-performing skill development ministry in addition to his existing charge of oil and gas.

Two cabinet ministers who were holding temporary charge of key ministries in addition to their own – science minister Harsh Vardhan (environment) and textiles minister Smriti Irani (information ad broadcasting) have now been formally allotted those additional portfolios.

Nitin Gadkari, widely seen as one of the government’s few high performers, has been given additional charge of water resources and the flagship Namame Gange portfolio – which had been flagging under Uma Bharati.

The appointment of Sitharam as defence minister is important since the post was being handled by finance minister Arun Jaitley ever since his predecessor, Manohar Parrikar, was chosen to head the state government in Goa following the assembly elections there in February this year.

It was Goyal’s perceived performance as coal and power minister and his ability to project a positive turnaround in the electricity sector which appears to have clinched the key railways portfolio for him. While Goyal will continue to keep coal, the power portfolio has gone to former Union home secretary and BJP MP R.K. Singh, who has been inducted as minister of state and given independent charge of power along with new and renewable energy.

Contrary to earlier speculation, no one from the BJP’s new alliance partner, the Janata Dal (United), was inducted in the expansion. While the names of JD(U) leaders R.C.P Singh and Ramnath Thakur were doing the rounds, the party clarified earlier today that no one from the party would be joining the new team. The Shiv Sena, which was denied an additional berth, stayed away from the ceremony.

Sunday’s ceremony also saw nine new faces joining the government as ministers of state. The new inductees include three former bureaucrats who have been given independent charge of key ministries – former Indian Foreign Service officer Hardeep Singh Puri (housing and urban development), former Indian Administrative Service Officer and Delhi ‘demolition man’ Alphons Kannanthanam (tourism), former Union home secretary and Lok Sabha MP from Arrah, R.K. Singh (power and renewable energy). In addition, the Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat and former IPS officer Satya Pal Singh also joined the council as minister of state for human resources development and water resources.

Others who took oath as minister of state were Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh Shiv Pratap Shukla (finance), Lok Sabha MP from Buxar Ashwini Kumar Choubey (health), Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgarh Virender Kumar (women and child, and minority affairs), Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada from Ananthkumar Hegde (skill development and entrepreneurship) and Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (agriculture).

Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Narendra Singh Tomar at the oath taking ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan

Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Narendra Singh Tomar at the oath taking ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Credit: Twitter/@ANI

Ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle, five ministers – Kalraj Mishra, Bandaru Dattatreya, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey – had resigned on Saturday. Uma Bharti stayed on but lost the crucial water resources portfolio, getting instead drinking water and sanitation. Vijay Kuma Goel lost charge of youth affairs and sports.

Moving away from “minimum government and maximum governance”

With the reshuffle, the strength of the Union council has gone up to 76, just six short of the maximum cap of 82 imposed by Article 72 of the constitution. While the Modi government had started on the premise of “minimum government and maximum governance” when it started off with 46 ministers in May 2014, the growing numbers indicate a marked shift from the claim.

Full list of ministers with portfolios

Shri Narendra Modi Prime Minister and also in-charge of:

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions;

Department of Atomic Energy;

Department of Space; and

All important policy issues; and

All other portfolios not allocated to any Minister.

 

CABINET MINISTERS

 

1. Shri Raj Nath Singh Minister of Home Affairs.
2. Smt. Sushma Swaraj Minister of External Affairs.
3. Shri Arun Jaitley Minister of Finance; and

Minister of Corporate Affairs.

4. Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari Minister of Road Transport and Highways;

Minister of Shipping; and

Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

5. Shri Suresh Prabhu Minister of Commerce and Industry.
6. Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
7. Sushri Uma Bharati Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
8. Shri Ramvilas Paswan Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
9. Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi Minister of Women and Child Development.
10. Shri Ananthkumar Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers; and

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.

11. Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Minister of Law and Justice; and

Minister of Electronics and Information Technology.

12. Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
13. Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati Minister of Civil Aviation.
14. Shri Anant Geete Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
15. Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal Minister of Food Processing Industries.
16. Shri Narendra Singh Tomar Minister of Rural Development;

Minister of Panchayati Raj; and

Minister of Mines.

17. Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh Minister of Steel.
18. Shri Jual Oram Minister of Tribal Affairs.
19. Shri Radha Mohan Singh Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
20. Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.
21. Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani Minister of Textiles; and

Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

22. Dr. Harsh Vardhan Minister of Science and Technology;

Minister of Earth Sciences; and

Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

23. Shri Prakash Javadekar Minister of Human Resource Development.
24. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas; and

Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

25. Shri Piyush Goyal Minister of Railways; and

Minister of Coal.

26. Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman Minister of Defence.
27. Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Minister of Minority Affairs.

 

MINISTERS OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE)

 

1. Rao Inderjit Singh Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Planning; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

2. Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
3. Shri Shripad Yesso Naik Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
4. Dr. Jitendra Singh Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region;

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office;

Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions;

Minister of State in the Department of Atomic Energy; and

Minister of State in the Department of Space.

5. Dr. Mahesh Sharma Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Culture; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Minister of State for Tourism

6. Shri Giriraj Singh Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
7. Shri Manoj Sinha Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Communications; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways.

8. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

9. Shri Raj Kumar Singh Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Power; and

Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

10. Shri Hardeep Singh Puri Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
11. Shri Alphons Kannanthanam Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Tourism; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

 

MINISTERS OF STATE

 

1. Shri Vijay Goel Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports;

Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

2. Shri Radhakrishnan P. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Shipping.

3. Shri S.S. Ahluwalia Minister of State in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
4. Shri Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi Minister of State in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
5. Shri Ramdas Athawale Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
6. Shri Vishnu Deo Sai Minister of State in the Ministry of Steel.
7. Shri Ram Kripal Yadav Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development.
8. Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
9. Shri Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary Minister of State in the Ministry of Mines; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Coal.

10. Shri Rajen Gohain Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways.
11. General (Retd.) V. K. Singh Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs.
12. Shri Parshottam Rupala Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.

13. Shri Krishan Pal Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
14. Shri Jaswantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor Minister of State in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
15. Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance.
16. Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
17. Shri Sudarshan Bhagat Minister of State in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
18. Shri Upendra Kushwaha Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
19. Shri Kiren Rijiju Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
 20. Dr. Virendra Kumar Minister of State in the Ministry of Women and Child Development; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

21. Shri Anantkumar Hegde Minister of State in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
22. Shri M. J. Akbar Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs.
23. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti Minister of State in the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
24. Shri Y. S. Chowdary Minister of State in the Ministry of Science and Technology; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

25. Shri Jayant Sinha Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
26. Shri Babul Supriyo Minister of State in the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
27. Shri Vijay Sampla Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
28. Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Water Resources,
River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

29. Shri Ajay Tamta Minister of State in the Ministry of Textiles.
30. Smt. Krishna Raj Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
31. Shri Mansukh  L. Mandaviya Minister of State in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways;

Minister of State in the Ministry of Shipping; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

32. Smt. Anupriya Patel Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
33. Shri C.R. Chaudhary Minister of State in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

34. Shri P.P. Chaudhary Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and Justice; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

35. Dr. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence.
36. Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
37. Dr. Satya Pal Singh Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Resource Development; and

Minister of State in the Ministry of Water Resources,
River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

 

Profiles of new ministers

  • S.N.Iyer

    While the promotion of Piyush Goyal is based on his good performance in the Coal and Power Ministry, the other promotions are more for their loyalty to Modi and the party. Ms Seetharam has been good spokesperson in English and the GOvt, but her performance of the portfolio of exports has not been satisfactory. The other two are very loyal to MOdi and the party and hence their promotion.
    The induction of Hardeep Puri and Alfons are significant . The MEA requires an addition of a career diplomat and Alphons could be a good addition with his experience as an administrator esp in the Urban Develop. MInistry. Though they are member of the bJP their contribution in their respective fields will be valuable, Satyapal Singh could be good addition to the HOme mInistry ep in dealing with the Maoist problem.

  • kujur bachchan

    Expect to be inundated with reams of columns and tens of hours of shrill discussions on television on a non-issue that is being presented as an issue of utmost national importance i.e. Mr Modi playing Snakes & Ladders. Trolls, spin-doctors and sundry spokespersons shall be on overdrive to give this board game – which essentially is a diversionary tactic – the spin as commanded by Mr Modi. Do we honestly believe that in the present dispensation, Ministers’ performance or non-performance really matter? In fact, do these ladies and gentlemen really matter at all to Mr Modi? Do not go by the post swearing-in photos of smiling ministers with a not so smiling Mr Modi. Ask Nana Patole, the BJP MP from Maharashtra, who is on record stating, “all central ministers are always in a state of fear”.