Cabinet reshuffle was tactical and strategic

Ministers

In expansion Modi aimed at expanding BJP’s outreach

To a query whether her elevation showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment towards women empowernment, she said the Prime Minister has always been in favour. Nirmala Sitharaman takes over the ministry from Arun Jaitley. Her place has been taken by Suresh Prabhu who resigned as Railway Minister on Sunday.

Goyal, a Chartered Accountant by profession, has been articulate in defending the Narendra Modi government specially after the demonetisation decision. She joined BJP in 2006 and was one of the 12 candidates nominated by the BJP to contest the Rajya Sabha elections in June 2016.

The drawback of having only a part-time defense minister was complicated by the fact Jaitley's other portfolio was the powerful finance ministry, which demonetized 86 percent of the country's currency a year ago and introduced a national goods and services tax in July. The oath ceremony of the new cabinet minister of the BJP government will begin from 10:30.

Sitharaman was among the four junior ministers, who were given cabinet berths at the reshuffle on Sunday.

Also read: Twitter digs up this old photo to welcome Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister. He was given the Cabinet rank and additional portfolio of skill development ministry along with his existing Petroleum ministry. In a report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women earlier this year, titled the "Women in Politics 2017 Map", India ranked at a low 148 for women in roles in the executive government, and 88 in the number of women ministers, having 18.5 pc women in the cabinet.

Goyal has been replaced by the newly inducted Minister of State Raj Kumar Singh, who is Lok Sabha member from Arrah, Bihar. Seen as the closest aide to Prime Minister Modi since his days as the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat, Shah wields considerable power and is also viewed as the key architect of a string of electoral successes, the last being the massive win in India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh.

Among others, Giriraj Singh got the Independent charge of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Modi also utilised the opportunity to change some portfolios. So has Santosh Gangwar who has now got independent charge of labour ministry.

Madurai-born Sitharaman, who was earlier minister of state for commerce, has a master's in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and has worked for PwC, London and briefly with BBC World Service.

Former diplomat Hardeep Puri and former IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam were made MoS (Independent charge) of Housing and Urban Development and Tourism respectively.

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