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Major Cabinet Reshuffle, Nirmala Sitharaman gets Major Promotion

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  1. Arun Jaitley will retain the Finance Ministry but sheds Defence Ministry. He will however attend an international meeting of Defence Ministers in Japan, for which he left on Sunday night.
  2. The 58-year-old Ms Nirmala Sitharaman will now be part of the top 5 or the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which also includes the Prime Minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minster Arun Jaitley. Ms Sitharaman credited her elevation to “cosmic grace”.
  3. Apart from Railways, Piyush Goyal retains the ministry of coal. Dharmendra Pradhan, now cabinet minister, will continue to have charge of Petroleum and Natural Gas and will also be minister for skill development and entrepreneurship, which Rajiv Pratap Rudy gave up two days ago.
  4. Suresh Prabhu, who exits as Rail Minister, will be the new Commerce Minister, the department that was held by Ms Sitharaman. Minority Affairs Minister Muqtar Abbas Naqvi continues in his departments as a Cabinet minister.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore replaced Vijay Goel in the Sports Ministry. Mr Goel, who earlier held independent charge, will be the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

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