Modi reshuffles Cabinet Committees; Irani, Sonowal among new faces
After reshuffling the Union Cabinet last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday rejigged Cabinet Committees, introducing several new faces. Smriti Irani, Giriraj Singh, Mansukh Mandaviya, Bhupender Yadav, and Sarbananda Sonowal were among the new inclusions in the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA). Meanwhile, Arjun Munda, Virendra Kumar, Kiren Rijiju, and Anurag Thakur were included in the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA).
Despite the addition of Irani, Giriraj, Mandaviya, and Sonowal, the number of members in the crucial CCPA—headed by PM Modi—remains the same. Previously, the committee had Siromani Akali Dal's (SAD) Sukhbir Singh Badal, Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant, and Lok Janshakti Party's (LJP) Ram Vilas Paswan (also a Dalit representative). Both SAD and Shiv Sena left the alliance last year, while Paswan died last October.
The CCPA no longer has representation from the Dalit and minority communities. Apart from the new additions, the CCPA includes Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar, Piyush Goyal, and Pralhad Joshi.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has a total of nine members including the PM. The committee makes decisions on the government's economic policy. However, many crucial ministries—such as the Ministry of Rural Development, the Ministry of Railways, and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change—are excluded from this committee. These ministries can play a crucial role in India's post-pandemic economic recovery.
This Committee has nine members: PM Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
No changes have been made on the Cabinet Committee on Security, the highest decision-making body on security matters. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet—which decides on matters such as appointments of officials from above the rank of Joint Secretary—also remains the same. While Modi and Shah are the only members of the Appointment Committee, the CCS has Modi, Rajnath Singh, Shah, Sitharaman, and Jaishankar.
Piyush Goyal (who also holds charge of the Food and Public Distribution and Textiles Ministries) is on the most number of panels, that is five, including the Committee on Accommodation, CCEA, and CCPA. The Home, Defence, and Finance Ministers are members of every committee. Newly-appointed Union Ministers Narayan Rane, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Ashwini Vaishnaw are included in the Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth.
Vaishnaw and Bhupender Yadav also found a place in the Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development. In the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation, Shah, Gadkari, Sitharaman, Goyal, and Hardeep Puri are members, whereas Jitendra Singh is a special invitee.