9 new faces in Modi reshuffle, Swearing in begins

Cabinet Reshuffle 2017

The President Vice President and Prime Minister with the newly inducted Ministers after a Swearing-in Ceremony at Rashtrapati BhavanTwitter PIB

Strength of Modi ministry now rises to 76.

IANS adds that one day after the union cabinet's expansion and reshuffle, the new ministers as well as those who have been elevated or reshuffled, assumed charge of their new responsibilities September 4 and articulated their priorities ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The previous Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been elevated to cabinet rank in recognition of her work and has been made the new Defence Minister.

Modi also named a new minister for the railways to restore confidence in the world's fourth-biggest rail network after a string of accidents, as well as a new leader to head a planned clean up of the river Ganges that has failed to make headway.

Ms Sitharaman's appointment will ease the burden on Mr Arun Jaitley, who had been juggling the finance and defence portfolios throughout a months-long impasse with China over a strategic Himalayan plateau. She became only the second woman to hold the post since former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Reacting to her appointment, Sithraman said she felt very humbled and she can not describe her recognition in words. "These are the reasons why the prime minister and Amit Shah chose to limit the rejig within BJP", the top leader explained.

Narendra Modi Cabinet reshuffle: Dr Mahesh Sharma who is also Union Minister of State for Culture takes charge as the Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, in New Delhi.

Nitish kumar
Bihar CM Nitish kumarIANS

Mukthar Abbas Naqvi elevation to cabinet status to handle minority affairs will comfort the vast majority of the minority communities in the country as he is seen as a very moderate and yet progressive in ideas. While former Union home secretary RK Singh has got independent charge of power ministry, ex-IFS officer Hardeep Puri is the new housing and urban development minister.

Kannanthanam is a distinguished former IAS officer of the 1979 batch, Kerala cadre.

Surprisingly both Puri and Alphonse are not being used for their domain knowledge on foreign affairs or home land security but in other ministries probably to get them used to first how to handle a ministers job in public domain and in parliament. Goyal also was given the additional charge of the Ministry of Coal.

Among those who resigned are Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra, Minister of State for Human Resource Developmet Mahendra Nath Pandey and junior Water Resources Minister Sanjeev Balyan. If this indicates a change in approach dictated by the disastrous performance of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, it is a welcome development.

While the minister had offered to resign, Modi is expected to retain him in the cabinet by making him environment minister in place of former minister Dave and replace him by Nitin Gadkari.

If one turned on the television, however, one would have been forgiven for thinking that it was the 2019 Lok Sabha election results that were pouring in. Assembly elections are due in Karnatka early next year and in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in the later part.

Raj Kumar Singh, former bureaucrat, is the MoS (independent charge) of Power and Renewable energy. Uma Bharati has been shunted out to Drinking Water & Sanitation. Instead he has been shifted to an equally important ministry: Commerce, again reflecting the talent crunch Modi faces especially in key economic policy related ministries.

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