New Cabinet, Starting 6 pm, Will Be "Youngest-Ever": Government Sources

The average age will be the lowest ever after the revamp, there will be more women ministers and special representation will be given to those who have administrative experience, sources said.

PM Modi's new cabinet will give special focus to each state, the sources said (File)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mega cabinet reshuffle, the first in his second term, will be announced today at 6 pm. The new cabinet will be the youngest ever in India's history, top government sources told NDTV.

The average age will be the lowest ever after the revamp, there will be more women ministers and special representation will be given to those who have administrative experience, sources said.

"Overall two dozen OBCs (Other Backward Class) will be represented. The plan is to involve the smaller communities," they said.

The average education will also be higher, with "PhDs, MBAs, post-graduates and professionals", the sources say.

Special focus will be on each state and even region in states, the sources said. Most importantly, the changes are likely to factor in polls in five states next year and the 2024 national election.

Some of the probable ministers, who have arrived or are heading to Delhi, include Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sarbananda Sonowal, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP)'s Pashupati Paras, Narayan Rane and Varun Gandhi.

Jyotiraditya Scindia was seen offering prayers at Ujjain's famous Mahakal temple, hours before he took a flight to Delhi on Tuesday.

"I was on a visit to Ujjain. After completing my visit here, I'm going to Delhi," said Mr Scindia, whose switch to the BJP last year contributed to the Congress's collapse in Madhya Pradesh.

Former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who agreed to give up the Chief Minister's post in Assam for Himanta Biswa Sarma after the BJP's reelection, is also set to be a Union Minister.

So is Pashupati Paras, who led the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) coup in Bihar against ex-Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan's son Chirag Paswan. Mr Paras, spotted shopping for a kurta, clammed up when asked whether he had received an invite from Delhi and said: "Raaz ko raaz rehne do (let secrets be)". Sources close to him say he received a call from Home Minister Amit Shah and promptly took a flight to Delhi on Monday evening.

Union Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot's appointment as Governor of Karnataka on Tuesday has left a significant vacancy in the government. His Rajya Sabha term was till April 2024, so a leader who is not a member of either house of parliament can be brought into the council of ministers and can be elected to the Rajya Sabha on Mr Gehlot's remaining term.

Dinesh Trivedi and Jitin Prasada, who switched to the BJP from the Trinamool and the Congress, fit the slot.

Others camping in Delhi are Anupriya Patel (Apna Dal), Pankaj Chowdhury, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Ramshankar Katheria, Lallan Singh and Rahul Kaswan.

The Union Cabinet, which can have 81 members, currently has 53 ministers. This means 28 ministers can be added.

PM Modi is making changes to his cabinet for the first time since he started his second term in 2019.

The expansion is likely to factor in polls in five states next year and the 2024 national election.

Before the exercise, PM Modi carried out a month-long review of ministers' performance, especially during the second wave of Covid in April-May, which had the government facing unprecedented criticism in the country and abroad.