New Delhi (TIP): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s imprint on the October 28 reshuffle in the Council of Ministers is evident with several leaders who are in favor of more economic reforms now a part of his new core team.
In the biggest reshuffle of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Cabinet, Manmohan Singh inducted 17 new faces and a total of 22 ministers giving several new and young faces a chance to prove their mettle as his government tries to remove the taint of scams and non-performance from its progress report. The Congress has also shown that it is the big brother in the UPA by having 69 of the 79 ministers, including the Railways.
The big movers include Salman Khurshid who has been made the External Affairs Minister, a portfolio which is considered to be very close to the Prime Minister. Khurshid’s move to the Ministry of External Affairs from Law & Justice and Minority Affairs is seen as an elevation despite allegation of his involvement in a scam in Uttar Pradesh. Ashwani Kumar had got the important portfolio of Law, which has been working overtime due the exposure of several corruption cases involving leaders of the ruling coalition.
MM Pallam Raju, too, has been elevated from Minister of State for Defence and is now the Human Resource Minister while Pawan Kumar Bansal is the new Railways Minister with Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and KJ Surya Prakash Reddy as his junior ministers. CP Joshi was holding the Railways portfolio as additional charge after the Trinamool Congress quit the UPA and withdrew its ministers in September 2012 following differences over economic reforms.
The PM has given young faces a chance to prove their mettle. But Salman Khurshid despite corruption allegations has been made the MEA.
Manish Tewari with Information and Broadcasting and Telugu film superstar-turned-politician K Chiranjeevi, who has been given the Tourism portfolio are some of the new faces in the Council of Ministers. Both have been made the Ministers of State with independent charge. Shashi Tharoor, who had to quit as MoS External Affairs in April 2010 in the wake of allegations of wrongdoing in buying stakes in an IPL team, has made a comeback and is now Ministers of State Human Resource. Ajay Maken, too, has been elevated to the Cabinet rank and will handle the Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Ministry. Maken at 48 years is also the youngest Cabinet minister in the Manmohan Singh government.
The Prime Minister has kept with core economic team with Anand Sharma retaining the Commerce Ministry despite the political upheavel over foreign direct investments. However, S Jaipal Reddy has been out of Petroleum Ministry and given the low-profile Science & Technology and Earth Sciences portfolio.
Kapil Sibal, too, has been downgraded and now only the Minister of Communications and Information Technology while Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad’s desire for a high profile portfolio has been ignored.
The focus of the reshuffle was on inducting new and young faces with the states of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal cornering the major share out of the 22 ministers sworn in. While Andhra Pradesh has six new faces, West Bengal gets three more representatives. The move to give prominence to Andhra and Bengal is seen as a strategy to counter the Telangana statehood issue and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who has pulled out of the UPA following differences over economic reforms.
Former Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman and veteran leader from Karnataka K Rahman Khan, despite allegations of involvement in a scam involving Wakf Board land, made a re-entry into the government as Minority Affairs Minister, a portfolio held by Khurshid. In UPA-I, Khan was a Minister of State. Dinsha Patel was promoted as Cabinet Minister in Mines Ministry in the reshuffle and expansion.
Rahul Gandhi, who was earlier speculated to join the government, kept away with the Prime Minister saying the young leader wants to strengthen the party, notwithstanding his request to become a minister. The exercise, which the Prime Minister said was “hopefully, probably the last” before next Lok Sabha polls, was confined to Congress party barring the inclusion of Tariq Anwar of NCP as a Minister of State.
The ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, the Prime Minister, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Cabinet Ministers and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.
The Prime Minister took away portfolios from ministers holding more than one charge and filled in the vacancies created by exit of six Trinamool Ministers, death of Vilasrao Deshmukh and resignation of eight Ministers including SM Krishna, Virbhadra Singh, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik and Subodh Kant Sahai.
Another significant promotion has been made in the case of Ashwani Kumar who has been upgraded to the Cabinet rank and given the charge of the Law Ministry held by Khurshid. Yet another upgradation has been made in the case of Harish Rawat, who was overlooked for the post of chief minister of Uttarakhand earlier in 2012 and had revolted. From MoS in Agriculture Ministry, he has now been made a Cabinet Minister for Water Resources.
Significant changes have also been made by upgrading three young Ministers of State, considered close to Rahul Gandhi, and giving them independent charge. They are Jyotiraditya Scindia who has been given Power and Sachin Pilot Corporate Affairs, both of which were held by Moily in Cabinet rank. Jitendra Singh, who was MoS in Home Ministry, has been given Youth and Sports Affairs.
Veteran Congress leader and MoS K H Muniyappa has been shifted from Railways to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Bharatsinh Solanki from Railways to Drinking Water and Sanitation with Independent charge. The other Ministers of State who have been shifted are D Purandeswari (from HRD to Commerce and Industry), Jitin Prasada (from Road Transport to Defence and HRD), S Jagathrakshakan (from I&B to New and Renewable Energy), KC Venugopal (from Power to Civil Aviation) and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajiv Shukla who gets additional charge of Planning. MoS External Affairs E Ahamed has shed the additional charge of HRD while RPN Singh has been shifted from Petroleum to Home.
Below is the full list of the ministers in the Union Cabinet after the reshuffle.
l K Rahman Khan: Minority Affairs
l Dinsha J Patel: Mines
l Ajay Maken: Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation
l MM Pallam Raju: Human Resource Development
l Ashwani Kumar: Law & Justice
l Harish Rawat: Water Resources
l Chandresh Kumari Katoch: Culture
l M Veerappa Moily: Petroleum & Natural Gas
l S Jaipal Reddy: Science & Technology and Earth Sciences
l Kamal Nath: Urban Development & Parliamentary Affairs
l Vayalar Ravi: Overseas Indian Affairs
l Kapil Sibal: Communications & Information Technology
l CP Joshi: Road Transport & Highways
l Kumari Selja: Social Justice & Empowerment
l Pawan Kumar Bansal: Railways
l Salman Khurshid: External Affarirs
l Jairam Ramesh: Rural Development
l Manmohan Singh: Prime Minister, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Ministry of Planning, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space
l P Chidambaram: Finance
l Sharad Pawar: Agriculture Minister, Minister of Food Processing Industries
l AK Antony: Defence
l Sushil Kumar Shinde: Minister of Home Affairs
l Ghulam Nabi Azad: Minister of Health and Family Welfare
l Dr. Farooq Abdullah: Minister of New and Renewable Energy
l Ajit Singh: Civil Aviation
l Mallikarjun Kharge: Minister of Labour and Employment
l Kapil Sibal: Minister of Communications and Information Technology
l Anand Sharma: Minister of Commerce and Industry, Minister of Textiles
l GK Vasan: Shipping
l MK Alagiri: Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers
l Praful Manoharbhai Patel: Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises
l Sriprakash Jaiswal: Minister of Coal
l V Kishore Chandra Deo: Minister of Tribal Affairs, Minister of Panchayati Raj
l Beni Prasad Verma: Minister of Steel
Ministers of State (Independent Charge)
l Manish Tewari: Information & Broadcasting
l K Chiranjeevi: Tourism
l Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia: Power
l KH Muniyappa: Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises
l Bharatsinh Madhavsinh Solanki: Drinking Water & Sanitation
l Sachin Pilot: Corporate Affairs
l Jitendra Singh: Youth Affairs & Sports
l Krishna Tirath: Ministry of Women and Child Development
l Kuruppassery Varkey Thomas: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
l Srikant Kumar Jena: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation
l Jayanthi Natarajan: Ministry of Environment and Forests
l Paban Singh Ghatowar: Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
Ministers of state
l Shashi Tharoor: Human Resource Development
l Kodikunnil Suresh: Labour & Employment
l Tariq Anwar: Agriculture & Food Processing Industries
l KJ Surya Prakash Reddy: Railways
l Ranee Narah: Tribal Affairs
l Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury: Railways
l AH Khan Choudhury: Health & Family Welfare
l Sarvey Sathyanarayana: Road Transport & Highways
l Ninong Ering: Minority Affairs
l Deepa Dasmunsi: Urban Development
l Porika Balram Naik: Social Justice & Empowerment
l Dr (Smt) Kruparani Killi: Communications & Information Technology
l Lalchand Kataria: Defence
l E Ahamed: External Affairs
l D Purandeswari: Commerce & Industry
l Jitin Prasada: Defence & Human Resource Development
l Dr S Jagathrakshakan: New & Renewable Energy
l RPN Singh: Home
l KC Venugopal: Civil Aviation
l Rajeev Shukla: Parliamentary Affairs & Planning
l V Narayanasamy: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Prime Minister Office
l Lakshmi Panabaka: Ministry of Textiles
l Namo Narain Meena: Ministry of Finance
l SS Palanimanickam: Ministry of Finance
l Preneet Kaur: Ministry of External Affairs
l D Napoleon: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
l S Gandhiselvan: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
l Tushar Amarsinh Chaudhary: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
l Pratik Prakashbapu Patil: Ministry of Coal
l Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh: Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Corporate Affairs
l Pradeep Kumar Jain Aditya: Ministry of Rural Development
l Charan Das Mahant: Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Food Processing Industries
l Milind Murli Deora: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.