"Huge Challenge, Responsibility," Says Kiren Rijiju, New Law Minister

Cabinet Reshuffle: Kiren Rijiju - a three-time Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh - was previously the junior minister (independent) for Youth Affairs, and junior minister for Minority Affairs

Cabinet Expansion: Lok Sabha MP Kiren Rijiju took charge as India's Law Minister today

New Delhi:

Kiren Rijiju, the new Law and Justice Minister, took charge of his office in Delhi Thursday morning.

Mr Rijiju - one of a handful of junior ministers promoted to a cabinet rank after Wednesday's reshuffle - assumed charge in the presence of Buddhist monks. He said he is conscious of the responsibility entrusted to him, and that he is determined to rise to the challenges ahead.

"Now is not the time to talk of visions... now is the time to work," he told NDTV.

Asked if he would take help from his predecessor - Ravi Shankar Prasad - Mr Rijiju, who had said he will be briefed by senior Law Ministry officials about pending matters, said: "It is always about team work... it is about a collective responsibility. Nothing happens alone."

"I'm entering this room (for the) first time... it is a huge challenge and responsibility to discharge my duties as Law and Justice Minister. I have a law degree... but don't have much experience in the profession... (but) everything can be handled with guidance and support," Mr Rijiju told the media.

He also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "showing trust in my capabilities".

"We will try to be transparent (but) don't want to make more comments now," he added.

Mr Rijiju - who is a three-time Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh - was previously the junior minister (independent) for Youth Affairs, and the junior minister for Minority Affairs and Ayush.

He holds a law degree from Delhi University.

Mr Rijiju was also asked about his time in the Sports Ministry and India's hopes at the Olympic Games, which begin on July 23. He said: "PM has asked everyone to cheer for India at the Olympics and we will all be working together to cheer for the country."

Kiren Rijiju succeeds Ravi Shankar Prasad as India's Law Minister.

Mr Prasad was one of a handful of high-profile exits from the union cabinet yesterday.

Apart from Mr Rijiju a number of other ministers stepped into their new roles today, including the new Health Minister (Mansukh Mandaviya), the new Railways and IT Minister (Ashwini Vaishnaw) and the new Information and Broadcasting Minister (Anurag Thakur).

Prime Minister Modi led a massive overhaul of his cabinet yesterday, with big names like Dr Harsh Vardhan (ex-Health Minister), Ravi Shankar Prasad (ex-Law and IT Minister) and Prakash Javadekar (ex-Environment and I&B Minister) stepping down.

The reshuffle boosted cabinet ministers from 21 to 30 and junior ministers from 23 to 45. There are fewer junior ministers with independent charge - the figure has dropped from nine to two.