Cabinet reshuffle: Nine new ministers took oath in PM Modi's revamped cabinet.
New Delhi: Nirmala Sitharaman will be the country's new Defence Minister while Piyush Goyal will be the new Railways Minister after a cabinet reshuffle on Sunday that saw nine new ministers take oath. Ms Sitharaman and Mr Goyal too took oath after being promoted to cabinet rank along with Dharmendra Pradhan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Nirmala Sitharaman is the first woman Defence Minister; Indira Gandhi held the department twice when she was Prime Minister.
Here are the top 10 developments on the cabinet reshuffle:
Suresh Prabhu, who exits as Rail Minister, will be the new Commerce Minister, the department that was held by Ms Sitharaman. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi continues in his departments as a Cabinet minister.
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who holds several key portfolios, has also been given charge of Water Resources and PM Modi's pet project of cleaning the Ganga. Uma Bharti was moved from that ministry and has been given the ministry of drinking water and sanitation. She skipped the oath ceremony on Sunday.
Of the new ministers in PM Modi's team, ex-diplomat Hardeep Puri will be minster of state with independent charge for housing and urban affairs. Former home secretary RK Singh will have independent charge of power and MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) and KJ Alphons of Tourism. He will also be minster of state for MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology).
PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah met the new ministers this morning at the Prime Minister's residence. PM Modi reportedly told them to perform and "do a good job." His council of ministers will now have 76 ministers, up from 73. It can have a maximum 81 members.
Six ministers resigned to make way for the new faces and sources said they were largely pink-slipped over performance, as PM Modi looks to streamline government performance and efficiency and speed up development work ahead of the 2019 national elections when he will seek a second term.