New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led NDA government effected a reshuffle of some ministries and allocated portfolios to 21 new ministers, giving Defence to Manohar Parrikar, Railways to Suresh Prabhu, Information and Broadcasting to Arun Jaitley and moving Harsh Vardhan from health to Science and Technology, a Rashrapati Bhavan communique said on Sunday.
Prabhu quit Shiv Sena and joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today before being sworn in as Cabinet Minister in the first expansion of the Narendra Modi government.
The 61-year-old banker-politician joined BJP at a time when there is simmering tension between the Sena and the BJP amid speculations that Uddhav Thackeray may pull his party out of the government at the Centre and play the role of opposition in Maharashtra.
Allocation of portfolios of 19 other ministers were also announced today.
The master-strategist and a trusted lieutenant of PM Modi as well as BJP President Amit Shah, Jagat Prakash Nadda has been given the Health portfolio earlier held by Harsh Vardhan. In the parliamentary elections, Nadda played an important role in his home state Himachal and helped the party win all the four seats even though a Congress government was in office.
Among the other new Cabinet ministers, Haryana leader Birender Singh, who had quit the Congress recently, has been made the new Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation. Rural Development Ministry was earlier under Nitin Gadkari, who is also the minister of Road Transport and Highways.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley will retain Finance and Corporate Affairs while also getting Information and Broadcasting Ministry. He will be assisted by Olympic shooting medalist and former armyman Rajyavendra Rathore.
DV Sadananda Gowda was moved from Railways to Law and Justice, held by Ravi Shankar Prasad, who now just has the portfolio of Communications and Information Technology.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy is the new Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Ministry. He also gets the charge of Parliamentary Affairs as MoS alongwith Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is also MoS for Minority Affairs with Najma Heptulla retained as the Cabinet Minister.
Labour and Employment has been taken from Narendra Singh Tomar and given to Bandaru Dattatreya who was sworn in as minister with independent charge. Tomar will continue as minister for steel and mines.
The ministry for development of northeastern region (independent charge) has been taken from Gen VK Singh (retd) and given to Jitendra Singh, who will also continue as minister of state in the prime minster's office. Gen Singh will been given independent charge of ministry of statistics and programme implementation in addition to his earlier portfolios.
Shripad Yesso Naik will hold portfolio of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) (independent charge) instead of tourism and culture which has been given to Mahesh Sharma. Naik will also be MoS for parliamentary affairs.
Portfolios of other new MoS include Ram Kirpal Yadav (drinking water and sanitation), Sanwar Lal Jat (water resources, river development, and Ganga Rejuvenation), MK Kundariya (agriculture), Giriraj Singh (micro, small and medium enterprises), Hansraj Ahir (chemicals and fertilizers), RS Katheria (human resource development), Jayant Sinha (finance), Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (retd.) (information and broadcasting), Babul Supriyo Baral (urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation), Niranjan Jyoti (food processing Industries) and Vijay Sampla (social justice and empowerment).
Upendra Kushwaha has been shifted as MoS from rural development to human resource development.
Ealier in the day, PM Modi expanded his council of ministers, bringing in 21 new ministers. The council of ministers included four new Cabinet ministers, three Ministers of State with independent charge and 14 ministers of state.
(With Agency inputs)