Cabinet reshuffle: Nirmala Sitharaman new defense minister, Goyal gets Railways
After the Narendra Modi government's third cabinet reshuffle, Nirmala Sitharaman has become the new defense minister, the first woman to hold the portfolio after Indira Gandhi. Piyush Goyal got the charge of railways; Arun Jaitley has retained finance; and Suresh Prabhu has been moved to Commerce. Ministers of state Dharmendra Pradhan (Oil) and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Minority Affairs) have been promoted to cabinet rank.
Modi chose the nine new ministers on the basis of their "future potential". That's why many have little political experience but respectable backgrounds. Among the four former administrators, former Representative of India to UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, and former Delhi Development Authority land commissioner KJ Alphons aren't even MPs. Former Home Secretary RK Singh and retired IPS officer Satya Pal Singh are first-time MPs.
The other five new ministers are Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Bihar), Virendra Kumar (Madhya Pradesh), Shiv Pratap Shukla (Uttar Pradesh), Ananth Kumar Hegde (Karnataka) and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Rajasthan). MP, Karnataka and Rajasthan are set to face assembly elections next year. Sources said the new faces will be strategically deployed in key ministries. The focus will be on last-mile delivery to the people.
The six who resigned were Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjeev Balyan, Kalraj Mishra, Bandaru Dattatreya, Mahendra Nath Pandey and Faggan Singh Kulaste. There were reports of Uma Bharti quitting, but the minister will skip the oath-taking simply because she's out of town, she said. Sources say performance review reports before the decision had just two boxes- positive and negative.