Dharmendra Pradhan said the cabinet reshuffle will work to realise PM Modi's vision of a New India.
The third reshuffle of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet
was seen to reward performers - one crucial face among whom was Dharmendra Pradhan. The minister, who was in charge of petroleum portfolio has been elevated to cabinet rank. He also got additional charge of the new Skill Development Ministry.
The nearly three-year-tenure of Mr Pradhan at the petroleum ministry has witnessed the runaway success of several of the Prime Minister's key schemes. The foremost among them were the voluntary surrender of LPG subsidy by the well-off in favour of the poor, and the direct transfer of subsidy to banks.
Under the "Give it up campaign", more than one crore consumers had voluntarily given up their LPG connections, the oil ministry had said in April last year. The scheme was announced by PM Modi in March 2015 from the Red Fort during his Independence Day address. The surrender of subsidy had not only helped the poor, it had also saved the government millions of rupees.
Mr Pradhan today said, "The Prime Minister said he saw his mother suffer while making rotis and our aim was to ensure women in the country have access to LPG. We built a huge network of LPG for the poorest of the poor that facilitated his vision (of New India)".
In December 2015, the PAHAL scheme (Pratyaksh Hanstantrit Labh), which involves Direct Benefit Transfer found a pace in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest cash transfer programme in the world. The year 2022, Mr Pradhan said, is a "major landmark". So in the next 5 years "we have to do a lot of work to make India a leader and we will push forward the roadmap," he added.
The minister's elevation to cabinet rank also comes ahead of the assembly elections in Odisha, one of the several states where the BJP plans to expand his footprint.
Asked if he would part take in campaigning ahead of the Odisha assembly elections in 2019, Mr Pradhan, a Rajya Sabha member from the state said, "I am a cabinet minister but essentially a party worker... so I will continue to work on the ground in Odisha too".
Nine new ministers were inducted to PM Modi's cabinet on Sunday, while three ministers besides Mr Pradhan were elevated to the cabinet. The reshuffle had been preceded by a stringent progress report
, where the ministers were evaluated on how proactively and efficiently they carried out the tasks set to them.